BUCHANA CITY, GRAND BASSA CO.: Liberian journalists from Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Rivercess and Grand Bassa on Friday September 16, 2022, unanimously endorsed a proposed self-regulation manual on personal data privacy and protection for use by the Liberian media.
Developed by a team of lawyers hired by the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in partnership with the Liberian Media Initiative with support from the European Union, the document aimed at strengthening media professionalism and quality delivery of information, while seeking to address challenges generated by online information campaigns.
The review was the first since the manual was developed. It follows series of Editors Forums conducted by PAL since July 23, 2021, soliciting journalists’ views on the subject matter and the need for a self-regulatory manual.
PAL, with support from the Liberia Media Initiative, Co-financed by the European Union, organized these series of Editors Forums to review ethical practices within the Liberian media, especially regarding personal data privacy, and to increase awareness on data privacy among editors and senior media managers.
Each of the forums brought together about 30 participants-journalists.
The goals and objectives of these documents fall in line with PAL’s objectives and are aligned to that of Internews programs to enhance freedom of expression and information, strengthening media professionalism and quality delivery of information while addressing challenges generated by online disinformation campaigns.
In addition, it is intended to set the agenda which would lead to advocacy for the government to pass specific legislation that will address the protection of data privacy and advocate for the media industry to pass regulations on personal data privacy.
The forum, held in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, brought together stakeholders from newsrooms in four counties to first discuss the document which is expected to be circulated in newsrooms for use by journalists in the absence of a stand-alone legislation and proffer suggestions.
Welcoming the Association and other journalists to the City Hall in Buchanan, City Mayor Moses D. Hayes’ proxy expressed the importance of being part of discussions relative to privacy and data protection generally.
PAL’s President, Othello Garblah, explained that the goal of the document being reviewed is aligned with the Association’s objectives as well as the Internews program to enhance freedom of expression and information.
He said the document aimed at strengthening media professionalism and quality delivery of information while seeking to address challenges generated by online information campaigns.
Garblah hoped that the discussion sets the agenda that could lead to advocacy so that the government passes specific legislation that will address the protection of data privacy and as well advocate for the media industry on the passage of a legislation on personal data privacy.
PAL is an umbrella organization of owners, managers and editors of newspapers operating in Liberia.
In 2021, the Association was sub-granted to roll out a discussion on the protection of personal data with the intent of developing the first media self-regulation for Liberia.
Meanwhile, the document review was led by Atty. Lamin Kpargoi and it is expected to be validated at the Press Union of Liberia’s anniversary in Sanniquellie City, Nimba County, by the end of September.
Participants, PAL officials and facilitators at the PAL Editors’ Forum
Facilitator Lamin Kpargoi explained about the importance of data privacy protection.