The Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Octavin Williams has re-branded the judicial branch of Government under the George Weah administration as a place of harassment, clampdown, depression, coercion and a center of strong intimidation towards the Liberian media.
As far as Octavin T. Williams is concerned, this form of intimidation that continued from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration unto President Weah era by the Judiciary has created trauma to the media, thus leading to self-censorship and content restrictions.
Mr. Williams indicated that the new trademark of the Judiciary under the Weah administration stems from the reemergence of arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists by past regimes.
According to him, for the past 12 years, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, journalists faced arrests and pre-trial detentions as a result of summons based on empty accounts by the court.
Additionally he expressed grave concern over the recent US$20 million lawsuit filed against him and the Nation Times newspaper by United Commodity Incorporated (UCI) although he (Williams) and the Nation Times have no written on record any account of story relating to the UCI.
Mr. Williams admitted that the paper only published a story concerning Anwar Ezzedine, who is CEO of UCI but was associated with the United Logging Company, which was indicted by the U.N Security Council committee established pursuant to Resolution 1343 in its 2001 report on Liberia.
He is therefore requesting the commercial court to recuse itself from a civil case who got no jurisdiction over such matter as far as the statues that created the court is concern and as such wants the proper legal body to be allow to do its job to ensure the law takes its course to erase any form of trauma that he could be experience as a result of the case.
Williams claimed that Cllr. Kumeh together with some judges of the commercial court has been in the business of executing wrongful lawsuits against him under the canopy of “Libel with Attachment” in a commercial court.
The deputy PUL boss believes the action of the commercial court in a wrongful lawsuit against him will again put the Liberian Judiciary on the line of hard code self-censorship and trauma geared towards a clampdown on critical voices and reportage respectively.
He added that the well-placed and alleged circulated strategies of Censorship Content Restrictions and Intimation including right abuses at journalists by some members of the Judiciary is currently working as a trauma being inflicted on the Liberian media.
He is therefore calling on the full bench of the Supreme Court to take serious interest in the matter so as to put to a perpetual end such ugly practice.
It can be recalled that President George Weah decriminalized free speech as such he told reporters that no journalist should be harrased,coerced and or intimidated while carryout their reportorial duty by any member of the judiciary.