The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has written the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christina Tah, raising issues of several attacks, harassments and intimidation against the Liberian media. In its letter, the PUL said, “We are increasingly concerned about the rapid deterioration in fundamental freedoms in Liberia upon the action and or inaction of government actors. This runs contrary to the constitutional obligations to protect these rights.”
The Union said it recognizes the nature of the health emergency in our country and respects the number of measures that have been taken to address them, both by government, as well as local, civic and international development partners.
However, the union believes that “nothing under the circumstances created by this emergency shall be used as an alibi to undermine the rights and freedoms of Liberians, especially and including journalists, lest to mention the obligation of the government to ensure that all Liberians have full guarantees of these rights.”
“Strategically, the Press Union of Liberia has insisted upon its membership in the National Ebola Task Force, though the role of the Task Force has itself been merely a forum for the sharing of information from organs that are implementing activities. This participation continues to inspire journalists, media institutions and civil society organizations that this is a national obligation that should involve all persons,” the letter said.
Specifically, the Union pointed out that its attention is specifically drawn to several circumstances that do not only restrain journalists in their obligation to seek out and share useful news and information with the public, but significantly threaten even media participation in the global fight against ebola. By all accounts, the media space in Liberia has been a significant partner in the fight to strengthen awareness in our society about the impact and challenges of the epidemic. Notwithstanding the loss of revenue due to the emergency nature of the epidemic and the effect on general life, the media has remained committed to this fight, “the letter said.