Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Accra-based media rights body, Media Foundation For West Africa (MFWA), on Monday hailed information ministers from the subregion for adopting the legal framework to expand the frontiers of free expression and access to Information.
This was contained in a statement signed by the body's Executive Director, Prof. Kwame Karikari, following the adoption of the framework at a two-day meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, which brought together information ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
It said "the adoption of the Act by the ECOWAS ministers is historic because it will improve the media environment and would go a long way in ensuring that the rights of community citizens will be respected".
MFWA, however, expressed regret that two main provisions on the "de-criminalizing and abolishing the offences of criminal libel, sedition, false news and insulting/defaming the President" as well as the provision "proscribing the bringing of criminal action to protect the reputation of the state were removed by the ministers".
The rights body further expressed its resolve in continuing to advocate for "the repeal and proscription of such offences that restrict the space for free expression within the region".
The legal framework, which is the brainchild of MFWA, was first discussed by civil society organisations in 2009, followed by a review of ECOWAS experts in communication and information.
The Act has 16 clauses ranging from the guarantee of the right to freedom of expression and independence of the media to the rights of access to information.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 24Jan2011