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

LNBA Against Censoring
Expressions On Judiciary
…As Justice Korkpor Expresses Dissatisfaction

By Grace Q. Bryant

The President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), Tiawan S. Gongloe, says critical views about the judiciary should encounter no disciplinary action.
He warned that freedom of expression should not be curtailed or discouraged in any manner, shape or form as was done in the case of the two Chief Justices.
In response to the Chief Justice’s speech at the opening of the October Term of Court, Cllr. Gongloe disclosed that the Constitution provides for equal treatment before the law.
“We cannot build a free society without freedom of expression. No matter how it may be expressed must always be viewed as the kernel of democracy,” Gongloe stated.
”Cllr. Gongloe cautioned that some expressions of disagreement may be in words that may be considered unpleasant by others; yet some may be pleasant words, but not considered factually truthful; yet still, some may be a combination of both but fundamentally flawed in analyses and conclusions.
According to him, the important thing in a democracy is that there must be an unfettered flow of views on the functioning of the three branches of government.
Cllr. Glongloe revealed that image-building is an expression that is meant for those whose positions are motivated by the impression of the public such as elected officials or appointed officials without tenure. Public opinions about a judge are not a pre-condition for maintaining a judicial office.
”What is needed of a judicial officer is to uphold the oath of his/her office at all times and to remain loyal to his/her conscience and country in the performance of his/her duties as a judge,” he argued.
”There is no history that a judge has ever been removed from office in Liberia because of a newspaper report or comment made by any citizen or observer of the court.” LNBA President maintained.
He added that in fact some of the very brutal expressions regarding decisions of the Court have, on some occasions come from justices of the Supreme Court; for example, in their dissenting opinions.
Earlier, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor said there is need for the Judiciary to operate devoid of undue influence.
“Criticism by themselves do not harm or pose a threat to the independence of the Judiciary; it may sound paradoxical but it is true, that such criticism actually helps to carve and insulate the independence of the Judiciary,” he disclosed.
According to him, a constructive critique of the decision and actions put us on the guide to be fair at all times and decide cases as impartial referees without seeking approval from the public, since perceptions on a given matter is not always within the purview of the law.
“Nothing tends more to render judges careful in their decisions and anxiously solicitous to do exact justice than the consciousness that every act of theirs is to be subject to the intelligent scrutiny of their fellow men, and their candid criticism,” Justice Korkpor quoting the Taft of the United States Supreme Court.
Speaking at the opening of the October term of the Supreme Court yesterday, Chief Justice Korkpor has expressed dissatisfaction on the budget allocated to the Judiciary for the 2021 fiscal year and disclosed that a total of US$ 14,973,128 is grossly inadequate for the high court.
The Chief Justice revealed that the Judiciary had put a halt to many of its programs and projects because of financial incapability and promised not to go further into complaints filed actions against the government regarding low income for the Judiciary.

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