Media body condemns flogging of journalists

The president of the Press Union of Liberia, Charles Coffey has  frowned on security forces for flogging two of its members after they  obeyed the instructions of the security officers.

He said it undermines the freedom of speech  as well as democracy in the country.

Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia Monday,  the PUL President said the attacks in recent times  against  journalists by some security personnel are reaching an alarming proportion that  requires timely intervention of the Liberian  government.

He said, “It is becoming uncontrollable as such authorities of various state securities, particularly justice ministry must act now.”

The journalism body of Liberia president narrated  and to cataloged  the most recent violent act perpetrated against Liberian journalists in the country.

He said, “ the Press Union of Liberia has been informed by Sports Writer Association of Liberia (SWAL)  and Christopher  Walker of  the incident  during  the  just  ended  National  County meet semi-final  matches at  the SKD. Besides the facebook and other social media displayed about the manhandling, Mr. Walker provided detail information to the PUL Sunday about the incident.”

Mr. Coffey said, “SWAL also condemned the act; Like PUL, did and again, we condemned the act.  It is inhumane, and a complete violation of Mr. Walker’s fundamental   rights.  It is disheartened for a peaceful media worker to be treated in an inhumane condition and such action has undermined the PUL and Joint security.”

The PUL President  additionally said there has been  Memorandum  of understanding intended to  ensure mutual respect  for both  the security  and  the journalists, thus  guaranteeing the  safety  and protection of  media  workers.

He indicated that “while talking about the FrontPage Africa reporter, another incident occurred last night Jan. 26 at the SKD involving journalist Zenue Miller of Ok FM  radio. Mr. Miller  informed PUL Monday  that after  the game  at  the SKD  he was  leaving when  he  was asked by EPS authority to stop. The incident took place near  the right to play  area. According to miller, being cognizant of VIP activities he stopped. But to his surprise, some EPS personnel came and beat him. He is currently facing severe pain and undergoing medical treatment.”

Mr. Coffey said, “another incident with police involving journalist Bryant Dioh occurred in Sinoe while  enroute to Maryland County, where the police again manhandled him.”

According to him, the action of the securities is profiling Liberia negatively in a very short period of time.

“This is very wrong and corrective measures must be taken to safe the image and sanity of the state” the PUL big man said.

“We have communicated  with  the relevant state’s institutions  responsible  including  the Liberia  National Police,  the ministry  of youth  and sports to conduct speedy investigation and bring  perpetrators to justice. We want the LNP professional standard division to investigate the PSU and other police officers who were seen humiliating Mr. Walker” the PUL boss said.

Giving firsthand information of the ‘unfortunate’ incident, the FrontPage sport reporter said he was duly accredited to cover all events of the county meet.

According to Mr.  Walker he was accredited to cover group C stage of the County meet games after which he came to town and continue to provide coverage of the National event.

Journalist Walker indicated that while carrying on his reportorial duty, an EPS official walked to him and asked him to leave.

“So I asked why should I leave and where are we going” Reporter Walker said he asked EPS officers.

He indicated that while they were talking, other police officers  arrived on the scene and violently asked him to leave the area designated for them (journalists) to stand.

He said before he could say few words to inquire, the police officers started to forcefully pull him off the field, the place he said he has been since the games stated.

He explained that some of his personal belongings including his camera and mobile phone were damaged.

Mr. Walker said, “my wallet containing   250 USD and one thousand LD and my phone also missing”.

According to the FPA Sports editor, what disappoints him the most is that since the incident occurred and he placed a call to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Minister, they are yet to get any redress or even a call from any authority of the sporting body in Liberia.

Journalists Walker works for FrontPage Africa Newspaper and is Press Press Union of Liberia (PUL) 2019 Best Sports Journalist of Liberia,  while Zenue Miller  works for OK FM  as one of the Talk show host of that institution. TNR


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