This week Director Melanie Ann Pustay is in Liberia to commemorate International Right to Know Day. The government of Liberia passed its new freedom of information law just three years ago in the fall of 2010. Director Pustay, on a trip sponsored by the Carter Center at Emory University, is participating as the United States’ representative in a series of events celebrating the advancement of information access laws in Liberia.
As part of a full slate of activities this week, Director Pustay met with ministers of the Liberian government, including Information Commissioner Mark Bedor-Wla Freeman, and was interviewed by the managing editor of the Inquirer News Paper. Director Pustay will also serve on a panel at the University of Liberia on the importance of access to information, as well as attend the opening of an exhibit of government documents. The materials on display at the exhibit date from the colonization of the nation to the present day and include the original Liberian Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Later this week, Director Pustay will provide a day long training seminar for Liberian information officers, sharing experiences in the implementation of the FOIA and providing guidance on the establishment of an effective system for information access. Finally, on September 28th, Director Pustay will serve as one of the keynote speakers in the International Right to Know Day celebration.
This trip follows a meeting earlier this year with a delegation of officials from the Liberian government at OIP’s office in Washington, DC. As part of this meeting, also sponsored by the Carter Center, the delegation participated in a full day program on the FOIA conducted by OIP subject matter experts. The meeting included discussions on a variety of topics such as an overview of the FOIA, the fundamentals of processing FOIA requests, and a review of the administrative appeals process.
Director Pustay’s trip this week stems from OIP’s core mission of encouraging federal agency compliance with the FOIA here in the United States. OIP leadership and subject matter experts routinely meet with delegations from foreign governments and international organizations on the administration of the FOIA and the importance of information access laws. A comprehensive listing of the events that OIP leadership and subject matter experts participate in throughout the year is available on the Key Dates page of our site.