The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Journalists Decry Assaults, Brutalities –Petition Gov’t, Others Following Peaceful Protest

The Press Union of Liberia-PUL, has presented to the Government of Liberia and diplomatic missions accredited near Monrovia a petition requesting the government of Liberia to investigate, and also with immediate effect, halt the beating and manhandling of media practitioners in the country.
In a petition submitted to various institutions including the 54th National Legislature and various Diplomatic Institutions yesterday, the PUL President, Charles Coffey enumerated several assaults carried out against journalists and urged them to act expeditiously.
Reading the petition, the PUL president Coffey said, the Press Union of Liberia is an umbrella organization of journalists in Liberia founded on September 30, 1964 primarily for the protection and the provision of a safe working environment for journalists and media workers.
He said, since the foundation of the Union, there continue to be attacks, detentions, intimidations and suppression of the media and media workers with several journalists losing their lives to what he called as tyrannical and brutal by security officers with impunity.
According to the PUL boss, these brutal attitudes towards journalists remain a major challenge for the Press Union of Liberia with successive governments doing little or nothing to contain this situation.
“Whereas, the protection of free speech, freedom of the press and protection for media workers are fundamental rights under the Constitution of Liberia, the United Nations Convention on people and Human rights and the African Union Convention on Human Rights; and whereas, in recent months, the attacks, detention, intimidation and brutality meted against media practitioners have become unprecedented with seven journalists being attacked just in two weeks and ten attacked in three months across the country,” the release stated.
The PUL in its petition further considers these attacks, detentions, intimidations and brutality against media personnel as deliberate attempts to force journalists into self-censorship and deny the public of credible, balanced and accurate reports of the operations of the government.
Cataloguing attacks on journalists since January 2020, the PUL raised the late Journalist Zenu K. Miller’s complaint of being whipped by some officers of the Executive Protection Service-EPS while trying to leave the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex where he was providing Radio commentary for Okay FM at the finals of the National County Sports Meet. The PUL blamed the Government for failing to launch an investigation into his flogging.
“Whereas the Government of Liberia only apologized for its failure to promptly investigate and offered to conduct an autopsy after the journalist`s death which was refused by the family; and whereas, another journalist, Christopher Walker, reporter at FrontPage Africa was brutally flogged by some officers of the Liberia National Police at a semi-final game of the National County Sports Meet and the LNP is yet to investigate and penalize the officers who whipped the journalist, the release also stated.
Others the PUL mentioned in its petition were Journalist Bryant Duo of Maryland County who was assaulted by officers of the Liberia National Police at a checkpoint in Rivercess County, while travelling to Harper from Monrovia.
In the case, the PUL said, Duo had sought to board another vehicle after going through the security check but the checking was prolonged. In February 2020, Journalist Kennedy Koloh, Manager at the Rivercess Broadcasting System was attacked by officers of the Liberia National Police and briefly detained in Yarpah Town, Rivercess County while travelling to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The PUL said, Police alleged that Journalist Koloh was arrested on a commercial motorbike for crossing a police checkpoint without regards for a stop order. Journalist Koloh denied the claims, insisting he was arrested after refusing to pay bribes to the police at the Checkpoint.
According to the PUL, it has been critical of police operations in the county, as well as Methuselah Technocrat Gaye, a Fabric Radio Correspondent in Rivercess County who was also arrested and detained at the Yarpah Town Police Detachment after being accused of allegedly posting on his Face Book page unverified information concerning the police commander of the region, Fasu Sheriff.
Journalists Josephine Seekey, a female reporter, Kolubah Akoi, Benjamin Toby Johnson, Salam Kaloko of Maggie Online TV were attacked by an agent of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) while covering a protest of War & Economic Crimes Court advocates. Kaloko were all beaten, manhandled and assaulted by state security officers leaving some of them with their equipment damaged and even taken away.

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