PUL STANDS WITH FRONTPAGE AFRICA IN US$100 MILLION DRUG BURST

MONROVIA-The Press Union of Liberia says it stands with FrontPage Africa (FPA) regarding a summons FPA received from Criminal Court C on its reporting of the $100 million drug burst in Monrovia.

In the face of the controversy surrounding the acquittal of suspected drug lords, involved in the US$100 Million drug case, FPA published a story of some US$500 Thousand reportedly brought into the country and distributed “around judicial circles to influence the jury”.

According to the writ from Criminal Court C, the management of FPA is cited to appear before the Court on June 13, 2023 “to show cause why it should not be held in contempt “and to establish and prove where, when, how and who received and splashed” the US$500 thousand the paper reported to have been splashed to influence the jurors.

According to a PUL press release, Judge Dixon is intentionally utilizing summons and criminal contempt to frighten and cower FPA into silence on an ongoing sensitive national conversation that required in-depth reporting.

The PUL argued that sources of journalists are protected by all reasonable methods and at this time cannot be revealed to a court at the center of the ongoing debate on the U$100m drug burst.  The PUL argued that it is crucial to protect the information provided by sources who have knowledge of the Monrovia drug scandal because revealing those names will undermine public confidence in media organizations and stifle legitimate sources of information that are essential to the public’s right to know.

Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia is asking Criminal Court C to kindly drop the criminal contempt hearing scheduled for 13th June 2023 on the grounds that the public right to know is supreme especially in a case of sensitive magnitude to the people of Liberia and its partners.

The Press Union of Liberia emphasized that if the case is not dropped, the press’ vital role as the general public’s watchdog will be jeopardized, and its ability to provide accurate and reliable information will suffer. The Liberian Constitution’s Article 15 provides the public’s right to know, but only a court may impose limitations on it. The public right to know is compatible with that provision.

In this case, the PUL averred that the twelve-man jury and other members of the Liberian judicial system seeking the identity of the FPA source are reportedly working extremely hard to protect themselves from the general public and its right to know by attacking the lifeline of information supply.

The Press Union of Liberia considers the suspected drug lords’ acquittal to be a disappointment for the nation as well.

The Press Union claimed that everyone responsible for causing such shame for the nation has not only contributed to a great deal of negative news coming out of Liberia but has also communicated to drug cartels all over the world that Liberia is a friendly route for the worldwide transit of drugs.

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