The Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) says it is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Liberia National Police (LNP) for constant brutalities against journalists in the country.
This follows after two journalists, including Zayzay Ballah of Bana FM and Emmanuel Davis of Fortune TV were on Monday, November 9, “abused, beaten by state securities and their equipment seized” while providing coverage at a protest staged at the premises of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor over the mysterious disappearance of three men at in Bong County.
“Distinguished members of the press, how long shall we wait for justice to be given Journalists in this country? Are we not members of the Liberian society? We are going beyond this stage now!
Let it be known to Liberians and the world that our lawyers are being consulted to test the country’s Judiciary system. We are sure that the Judiciary system is the best place to seek justice,” the association said in a release.
According to the Press Union of Liberia auxiliary group, since the presentation of a petition by the PUL to the government on March 12, 2019, due to the increment in the level of violation of journalists’ rights as citizens of Liberia, it has only observed the resignation of members of the committee that was constituted by the government to probe journalists’ harassment “because of the lack of will power by the government to give Justice to us, the journalists.”
The committee set up by the government is chaired by former Information Minister, Dr. Larry Bropleh, and comprises Momo Cyrus, CEO of Security Expert Guard Agency of Liberia (SEGAL), and Peter Quaqua, former President of the Press Union of Liberia, who later resigned from the group.
The Association said it is sad that “all those same things we protested against in March of this year are even on the increase. We see the constant brutalities against journalists by securities as a calculated attempt to silence the media.”
At the same time, the RAL said it doubts the findings of state securities relating to the death of journalist Chris David Bong County.
“We want to publicly say that those findings are not true until a proper impartial investigation is conducted by an independent body to establish reasons behind the death of the journalist.
What was done recently by state securities linking the journalist to a stolen goat was just showmanship to make society think otherwise about journalists in the Liberian society.
A similar thing happened when journalist Tyron Browne was stabbed and there were all kinds of things said about his death, Journalist Darlington Palena was alleged to have been an armed robber in Liberia because someone wanted to indict him.
Again, the journalist spent many months in detention and it was later established that the accusation was malicious and false.
We are highlighting all these to tell you how people get at others for no reason and the case of Chris might just be the same as Darlington and Tyron,” RAL said in its release.
The association has also urged its members to be careful as they go about their reportorial duties ahead of the December 8, elections.