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Liberia: House of Representatives Passes Freedom of Information Act

(July 29, 2010) On July 22, 2010, the Liberian House of Representatives passed the Freedom of Information Bill which, if enacted into law, will give members of the press corps and the general public unfettered access to public records. (Freedom of Information Bill Passed, THE ANALYST (July 23, 2010), The bill must be sent to the Senate for concurrence and then to the head of state for assent before it can become law. (See Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, art. 35, (last visited July 28, 2010).)

The objectives of the bill include removing restrictions on and establishing procedures for accessing information in the hands of public or private authorities that perform public functions, making the practices and procedures of public authorities available to the public, facilitating the disclosure of information to the public at reasonable cost, and guaranteeing the right of every individual to access his or her personal information held by private and public institutions. (Sect. 2.1, Freedom of Information Act 2008, International Media Support website,
(last visited July 26, 2010).)

Although the bill allows the authorities to refuse disclosure of information on several grounds, including national security, trade secrets or prejudice to the proper administration of justice, it affords individuals seeking access the right to challenge such refusals in court. (Id. at sects. 4.8 & 5.1-7.1.)