CEMESP Congratulates Journalists on the Observance of World Press Freedom Day

MONROVIA-The Center for Media Studies and Peace-building (CEMESP) has extended its warmest sentiments to Journalists and media workers in observance of World Press Freedom Day.

CEMESP in a statement issued in Monrovia recently, noted that freedom of the press, the right to report news or circulate opinion without censorship from the government or anyone else is considered one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, by a significant number of people around the world.

The media institution noted that Liberians enjoy the freedom of the press as one of the rights guaranteed by the constitution, and it is this right that World Press Freedom Day seeks to protect and advance.

The group stressed that since the 1991, proclamation by UNESCO; World Press Freedom Day continues to amplify awareness over how key it is to dedicate efforts to safeguard press freedom, and at the same time, point out the vital role that journalists and media workers play in fostering the culture of democracy, accountability, and protecting the rights of journalists.

CEMESP pointed out that in the discharge of these roles and responsibilities, many outstanding journalists have sadly died, some are either behind bars, held hostage or treated in unacceptable manners to deter others from holding the power that be accountable.

The group indicated that while Freedom of expression has considerably advanced in recent years, threats, harassment and censorship of the media remain pervasive.

CEMESP mentioned that as reported by the US State Department, Liberian Government Officials have occasionally harassed newspaper, radio station owners, and individual journalists, because of their political opinions.

The media entity stressed that sadly, last year, unknown men caused extensive damage to a radio station in Lofa, during an alleged April 23, 2022 arson attack and on June 29, 2022, two Officers of the Liberia National Police reportedly threatened to shoot Emmanuel Kollie, a reporter with the state-owned broadcasting system.

“As different global speech defenders, gather in various parts of the world to commemorate the celebration of World Press Freedom Day under the theme: “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”, CEMESP is urging the Government of Liberia, and all of its state and security institutions to unequivocally commit to protecting freedom of the press at all levels”.

“The Government of Liberia must continue to widen the civil space for free and unhindered expressions to fulfill its commitments under local and international conventions”.

“The Center for Media Studies and Peace-building is committed to advancing all the enabling elements of freedom of expression to enjoy and protect all other human rights”, CEMESP mentioned.

“In January this year, CEMESP with support from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) launched a Comprehensive National Framework for the safety of journalists in Liberia.

“The Comprehensive National Framework will consolidate coordination among Liberian state securities and media actors to ensure the safety of journalists, especially during the October 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Finally, CEMESP wishes to express the significance of responsible, ethical journalism- a collective responsibility to abide by a code of ethics to avoid conflicts of interest that may compromise integrity or impartiality.

The importance of responsible journalism has never been more critical than now”, the group added.

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