Article 15 of the Liberian Constitution provides freedom of expression and then the press (Government of Liberia, 1986). Besides, Liberia enacted a ‘Freedom of Information (FOI) Law in 2010. The FOI provides detailed processes for accessing public information, thereby complementing Constitutional provisions enshrined in Article 15 (World Bank, 2010). Nevertheless, since Liberia experienced a coup d’ état in the early 1980s, which saw several journalists killed, the mainstream media have been a target of the violence they report. Despite existing constitutional provisions that guarantee freedom of expression and the press and an FOI Law that Liberia enacted in 2010, more journalists have been murdered and many more harassed and intimidated. Libel charges continued to be leveled against media houses and journalists while existing regulatory bodies are mainly ineffective, and media self-regulatory mechanisms were not yet developed. More Liberian journalists still complain of physical violence, threats, and intimidation in their work (Africanews, 2020). These incidents have a detrimental effect on freedom of information and the press’s ability to safely report facts on the ground.
The project is strengthening independent media and freedom of information in Liberia. Primarily, it is improving the environment for press freedom, journalistic safety, and self-regulation through favorable policies and practices; and enhancing journalists’ and CSOs’ awareness and networking. It also fosters active citizen demand for transparency of the media and government activity while bolstering CSOs, media, and government collaborations in accessing and using public data.
- Policies and practices were improved to create a favorable environment for press freedom, journalistic safety, and self-regulation.
- Freedom of expression and information in Liberia increased through civic space expansion for activists and journalists to act as critical intermediaries.
- Citizens’ demand for public information increased in five targeted counties (Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, Nimba, and Lofa), and using that information improved vital public service delivery in 5 targeted counties (Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, Nimba, and Lofa).
The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) is funding
this project. The University of Libera and the Press United of Liberia are
implementing the project and serving as key partners.
Sector: Media and Civil Society Strengthening
Domain: Media Freedom, Capacity Building, and Civil Society
Benefiting zone: Liberia
Nature: Performance base contract
Duration: 2021 – 2023