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CEMESP, Partner Launch Nat’l Framework For Journalists’ Safety In Liberia

By Rojoe L. Gbartea
The Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) with support from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has launched a Comprehensive National Framework for the safety of journalists in Liberia

The launch was performed by Deputy Information Minister Atty. Daniel Gayedyu who proxied for Information Minister Ledgerhood Julius Rennie while funding support was made possible by the UNESCO IPDC and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana.

The launching of the Comprehensive National Framework came at the Liberians are gearing up to go to the poll in October of this year to elect their new corps of officers, a process which journalists is expected to play a pivotal role.

With funding from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and UNESCO, the framework was developed through a joint process involving media actors and state actors in the country.

Accordingly, the launching of the document is also part of efforts to reduce incidents of media rights violations, increase responsiveness by authorities to addressing media rights violations and to reduce acts of impunity for crime against journalists in Liberia.

According to the document, the safety of journalists in Liberia cannot be over-emphasized given the wide-ranging incidents of violations, attacks and abuses meted out to journalists over the years.
Furthermore, the document is intended to fill the void created by the lack of national commitment to protect journalists from acts of impunity; creating pathways for redress and even establish a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the level of compliance with the UN standards to end impunity against journalists.

The document at the same time also points out who the perpetrators of attacks and violations against journalists are, as well as highlights the nature and forms of these attacks, violations and abuses.
The document also looks at the evolving efforts to build national consensus to end the vicious cycle of impunity against journalists in Liberia with the view to also protecting other democratic tenets and human rights values.

The document, at the same time called on the Liberian government to ensure that its officials do not disturb journalists for any reason during the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“The journalists have the right to interview the citizen and government to know their view concerning this election. Government should not send any police officer to attack when they have evidence of what the government is hiding from the citizen,” the document sated.

The framework document among other things seek to create pathways for redress and even establishing a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the level of compliance with the UN standards to end impunity against journalists.

Meanwhile, special remarks came from Press Union of Liberia president Charles Coffey; the Liberia National Police spokesperson, Moses Carter; FEJAL president Siatta Scott-Johnson; Armed Forces of Liberia Chief of Public Information 2nd Lt. Ellis Randy; Atty. Samuel Dakinah from the office of the National Security Advisor and Madam Torwon Sulonteh-Brown of Internews.

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