-To Provide Media Laws, Jingle For Public Defenders
R. Joyclyn Wea
The Court Administrator of the Judiciary Branch of Government, Elizabeth Nelson is appealing to Internews-Liberia to make available the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom and other related media laws to be distributed among public defenders across the counties.
Cllr. Nelson said this will ensure an enabling environment for journalists and Public Defenders to smoothly operate in the discharge of their duties void of conflict.
She further said the media is a friend to all and the availability of the laws will make people became knowledgeable about the court system and the work they do as judicial actors.
“Internews should also collaborate with public defenders in the counties to provide jingles that will explain the actual function of Public Defenders because people only know that Public Defenders are only there to represent criminals,” Madam Nelson.
According to her, Public Defenders have filled the vacancy in the judiciary system by representing the interest of people who do not have the means to hire the service of a lawyer.
She outlines the constraints Public Defenders throughout the one hundred-three Magisterial Courts across Liberia are facing, but said the judiciary is making effort to address that and to also step up the numbers of Public Defenders in the budget of the Judiciary.
“We know that you need logistics because your work is over burden. But the problem is with the Judiciary budget every year there is a cut. The Judiciary budget used to be two percent but now it has been cut by less than two percent,” she said.
Remarking at the close of an event, Internews Chief of Party, Jan McArthur said it was important to train Public Defenders because they protect journalists.
Madam McArthur further indicated the need to defend Journalists when there’s a lawsuit against them by anyone in the country.
McArthur believes that collectively Public Defenders and the media can protect the freedom of Information and help resolve actions of conflicts in Liberia.
She added “we want to create an environment that improves lives of citizens by both the media and Public Defenders advocating for the media law. Keep up the conversation resolved conflict that result or come from the media. Citizens do not deserve bad information so we should work to improve activity of the media.”
Meanwhile, with the intervention of the Judicial Institute and partner Internews-Liberia through its media development program, a week long specialized intensive media Law training for Public Defenders from across the fifteen Counties was held at the Banquet Hall of the Temple of Justice
The training was designed to enable Public Defenders familiarize themselves with laws on media development and to also build on their capacity or understanding in relation to protecting journalists working throughout the counties.
The training covered a wide-range of topics including defenses available in litigation against the media under the law and enabling public defenders across Liberia to work with journalists in the field because without journalists they will be in darkness.