House Reviews Proposed Law to Regulate Community Radio Stations

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House Reviews Proposed Law to Regulate Community Radio Stations
House Reviews Proposed Law to Regulate Community Radio Stations

Africa-Press – Liberia. In his communication to plenary, Rep. Flomo said the bill seeks to promote and protect the independence of community radio stations around the country.
The House of Representatives is currently reviewing a proposed law aimed at providing a legal framework to regulate the ownership, management, licensing, and operations of community radio stations across Liberia.

The bill, titled “An Act to Govern Community Radio Ownership, Management, Licensing, and Operations in Liberia,” was introduced by Nimba County District #2 Representative, Nyahn Garsaye Flomo.

In his communication to plenary, Rep. Flomo said the bill seeks to promote and protect the independence of community radio stations around the country; ensure that community radio stations serve the public interest in their area of operations; ensure community radio is independent, impartial, and viable in promoting democracy, peace, and the cultural values of the areas they serve; promote the production of program content considering the cultural, religious, ethnic, social values, and educational needs of their host communities; and ensure the application of standards that guide against unwarranted interference in the acquisition and management of community radio broadcast licenses.

Additionally, the bill aims to promote and strengthen support for the continued existence of community radio stations in Liberia; protect and promote the right of the community to access their programming and participate in the operation of the station by ensuring the availability of a wide variety of programming on issues of public interest and in relevant formats; promote the appropriate use of new technology; and enhance the overall sustainability and viability of the community radio sector in Liberia.

Community radio plays a central role in disseminating information and promoting peace and development after the civil war. First established with support from Mercy Corps and other media development organizations, community radio, owned and managed by the community, focused on promoting peace and development. However, over time, Liberia has experienced a proliferation of community radio stations. Currently, there are more than 150 community radio stations in Liberia. Most of them face management issues, with some being interfered with by politicians and powerful individuals.

The bill is being sponsored by Internews through support from USAID. Its introduction followed a media dialogue organized by the House’s Committee on Information Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism, in collaboration with Internews. Major stakeholders attended the dialogues and made several inputs to the bill.

The committee Chairperson, Representative Bernard Blue Benson, said after the introduction of the bill, stakeholders will be invited to a public hearing to provide input and give their expert opinions on the bill.

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