Supreme Court Orders Nat’l Chronicle Reopened; Denies PUL’s Petition

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

The Supreme Court of Liberia has quashed the peremptory Writ of Prohibition requested for by the Press Union of Liberia in the closure of the National Chronicle Newspaper and at the same time ordered the reopening of the offices of the Newspaper with immediate effect.

On the closure of the Newspaper, the high court’s decision was stemmed from facts based on legal grounds that the offices of the National Chronicle Newspaper was closed without a court order and long after the state of emergency which is a violation of the petitioners’ rights not pictured by law.

In its judgment handed down during its March term sitting on the Writ of Prohibition, the full bench took note of the fact that the state of emergency was declared on August 7, 2014 and expired on November 13, 2014 and was not renewed while the Ebola virus had been contained and was no longer a threat to national existence.

The Supreme Court said there could have been no fear and panic created from the stories published by the petitioners that would have resulted into ‘uprising and destruction of lives and properties’ as contended by the government of Liberia.

The high court also said the facts in the case was that the petitioners were not charged and had not been charged with the omission of any crime as a result of the alleged ‘heinous, detestable and disrespectful’ publications as levied against the paper by the government.

However, on the other hand, the final arbiter of justice denied the rights of the PUL President, Kamara A. Kamara to have filed for a petition for a Writ of Prohibition on behalf of the Chronicle Newspaper.

The Supreme Court adjudged that the action requested for by the PUL is corporate and therefore should be pursuant to board resolutions and that in the case at bar, the PUL did not exhibit a board resolution from the National Chronicle Newspaper authorizing the PUL to file the petition on its behalf.

The high court said there is nothing to show that the Board of Directors of the PUL authorized its president to institute the petition therefore the Union did not have the standing to have filed the petition.