Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Liberia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2008|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Liberia, February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5678a2.html [accessed 30 April 2016]|
Police in the capital, Monrovia, sealed the offices of the private biweekly tabloid The Independent in late February after the government revoked the paper's license to publish. The action came after the newspaper published a sexually graphic photograph of Presidential Affairs Minister Willis Knuckles with two women, leading to the minister's resignation on February 26. Managing Editor Sam Dean briefly went into hiding as the scandal played out. In June, officials announced the lifting of the ban after the paper sued the government for constitutional and due process violations.
An official with Liberia's soccer association, irate at a story in the private weekly The News, assaulted Sports Editor Julu Johnson in March, according to the Media Foundation for West Africa. The official, Napoleon Japloe, was suspended for a month by the association after slapping the journalist and pushing him to the ground.
Reporters Daylue Gaoh of the New Democrat and Zeze Evans Ballah of Public Agenda were beaten by police and U.N. peacekeeping forces while covering a student demonstration at the University of Liberia in Monrovia in June, local journalists reported. U.N. troops took a digital photo memory disc from Ballah that had pictures of police and troops confronting the students, Public Agenda Editor-in-Chief J. Lyndon Ponnie said. The students were staging a demonstration urging the government to pay overdue wages to instructors.
In September, presidential bodyguards harassed and beat three journalists trying to cover a meeting between President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and newly elected Sierra Leonian President Ernest Koroma at Monrovia's Roberts International Airport, the Media Foundation for West Africa reported. Journalists Jonathan Paylelay of the BBC, Dosso Zoom of Radio France International, and Alphonso Toweh of Reuters were beaten and bundled out of the interview area, according to local journalists. A few minutes after the incident, Sirleaf's press secretary, Cyrus Badio, met with the journalists and apologized.