‘ICT Key to Development, Gov’t Accountability’
The Commissioner of the Independent Information Commission (IIC), Mark Bedor-Wla Freeman, has underscored the importance of using Information and Communications Technology for citizens’ development and holding government officials accountable.
“ITC is very important in promoting and fostering access to information for Liberia’s development. With ICT, ministries and agencies can fulfill their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act in terms of citizens’ access to information,” Commissioner Freeman said.
Commissioner Freeman furthered that there’s a need for ICT to be available at various levels of the community for the development of an individual’s life, especially during an emergency or health crisis in particular.
Commissioner Freeman asserted the official of the VOSIEDA’s project titled “Strengthening Domestic Accountability and Building Empowered Citizenry,” using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) held at a resort in Monrovia.
The project is aimed at providing access to information surrounding COVID-19 response, promoting access to public service data through ICT, and increasing citizens’ demand for accountability from state actors, according to VOSIEDA.
The IIC Commissioner, however, emphasized that access to information is a critical tool or mechanism for citizens to effectively monitor and hold government state actors accountable.
“The University of Liberia is using ICT today as a result of COVID-19 to run online courses, which was introduced last semester. The online education of the university now shows how important ICT is and also gives opportunity to people who are overseas to seek higher education no matter the location,” Commissioner Freeman said.
Commissioner Freeman lauded VOSIEDA’s team for the launch of a worthy project and assured them of IIC’s commitment to ensuring that the project is successful while calling on all institutions to cooperate with the organization in providing necessary information for the public good.
Siatta Scott-Johnson, president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) who officially launched the project said she was delighted as the project is aimed at enhancing information dissemination and promoting government and citizens’ engagement to improve the country’s governance system.
“I want to call on all stakeholders to support this great initiative which is aimed at using information technology to access information for all, especially females. Again, this project seeks to augment government flow of information to reach communities lacking resources and to ensure that they use the needed information to find solutions,” Mrs. Scott-Johnson said.
Mrs. Scott-Johnson maintained that communities lacking access to information are almost made of women as women have been denied access to information over the years, stating “we look forward to seeing women at the forefront of this project.”
She lauded VOSIEDA’s team for undertaking an important project that will help in promoting women’s access to information using information and communications technology or ICT.
H. Timothy Kortu, team leader of VOSIEDA, said the project is aimed at creating various platforms to provide the necessary information to the public using Liberia Broadcasting System, social media, website, and televisions with a focus on enhancing transparency and accountability, and information technology.
“We believe that making people aware of development issues will create ownership of these development initiatives. It will empower citizens to benefit from these development initiatives and they will also be in a better position to hold people accountable for their actions, especially state actors,” Mr. Kortu said.
Mr. Kortu said these platforms are intended to bring stakeholders and ordinary people together to be able to explain to them about government’s programs and projects and how ordinary people can benefit from these programs.
“The government of Liberia by all indications is doing a lot. If we consider for instance coronavirus, the government has done very well in containing the coronavirus but information about containing or eradicating it remains very low,” Mr. Kortu said.
According to Mr. Kortu, Liberia is yet to have a widespread of the coronavirus, but communication from stakeholders on efforts in containing the coronavirus is seriously low, stating “funding, programs and other resources implemented to benefit the Liberian people are being done without much publicity.”