Home News Five Attacks, Two Lawsuits PUL Releases 8th Quarterly Media Alert

Five Attacks, Two Lawsuits PUL Releases 8th Quarterly Media Alert

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The Press Union of Liberia has released its regular quarterly Media Alert Report which is the eighth in a series of published reports since the birth of the Media Alert Office in April 2017.
A press release says this eighth edition of the media alert report coverers the period between January and March of 2019. The Media Alert Reports, as usual, take into consideration issues of attack on journalists and media institutions across Liberia.
The Alert Reports usually highlighted other major issues, including critical analysis of the trend being taken by Liberia’s media environment, taking into consideration the nature of space being offered by state actors for the media to function.
The current Alert Report of the Press Union of Liberia shares light on attacks and lawsuits against the media by individuals in the public and private sectors.
The methodology, as usual to catalog the report, entails the collection of local dailies and going through them, monitoring of some radio stations (news and talk shows) and the receiving of direct reports.
Figures gathered are normally verified by going on the troubled spots, getting in touch with independent sources on the ground, as well as making contacts with civil society actors. At the same time, the Media Alert Office makes contacts with the Press Union’s coordinators in the various counties, as part of its tracking process.
Alert Program Officer said his office usually go through some of the local dailies, listen to news cast, and talk shows, saying however that the most fundamental way of tracking these violations is the receiving of complaints from those affected.
The report catalogued the banning of Legislative Reporter by the House of Representatives
In February 2019, at which time the Legislature was a place of tension and noise when House Speaker, Dr. Bofhal Chambers revoked the accreditation of several legislative reporters.
“The speaker’s action did not only affect ordinary members of the Legislative Reporters Association of Liberia, but its President, Musa Kenneh,” the report noted. The Press Director at the lower house, Isaac Redd said the speaker had no part to play in the decision,” according to the Media Alert Report. .
Mr. Redd said, the report noted, that the decision was aimed at giving way to new reporters by replacing those he described as “repetitive”. The situation sparked concerns in the Liberian media community, with the Press Union of Liberia moving in swiftly to condemn the matter.
A second incidence of attack on the media was the Root FM Attacks. During the reporting period, the Liberia National Police deployed some of its officers at a transmission hub of the Lone Star GSM Company, which had been housing the transmitters of Roots FM, a local radio operated by famous radio talk show host, Henry Costa.
The Friday, February 15, 2019 incident came weeks after Roots FM reported an attack on its facilities on Johnson Street in Central Monrovia. The eighth edition of the Media Alert Report said the Press Union of Liberia, in a statement, did not only condemn the action by the Liberia National Police but also called on the LNP to take into consideration the corporate interest of one of the country’s largest tax payers, Lone Star Cell and the rights of small-scale business, like Roots FM to operate and succeed in line with the Weah Administration’s Policies.
Thirdly, an attack on the Liberty Radio Station was also recorded. On Saturday, February 23, 2019 saw another attack by unknown men who made away with some equipment belonging to Liberty Radio, causing the station to go off the air for two weeks, according to the PUL Alert office.
The Union’s report indicated that Rev. Dahn Demey, Chief Executive Officer of the station, informed the Alert Office that the incident occurred at 2:00AM on Saturday, February 23, 2019. He said the front door of the station as well as his office and the main studio were broken into by some unknown men, making away with several pieces of equipment from the radio station.
He then said he immediately contacted the Liberian National Police on the situations. Four officers of the Liberia National Police were deployed on the scene. The Police concluded after an investigation that the following pieces of equipment were taken, including one flat screen television, one CD player, one mixer and relay device.
Rev. Dahn Demey said the Liberty Radio’s Security Guard along with some staffs of the entity were investigated by the Liberia National Police but failed to say whether they are linked to attack on station.
Another incidence of attacks on the media recorded was one on Radio Margibi FM 103.9. The Alert Report said the action was carried out by the Lower Margibi County Labor Commissioner, Mr. S. Roye Browne.
The incident occurred on Monday, March 4, 2019, at 6:20 am. Mr. Browne is said to have bang on the door and windows of the station and later switched off the generator power on grounds that the station was airing a leak audio of him allegedly soliciting bribe from a foreign businessman to carry on his function as a Labor Commissioner of the County. Mr. Browne is on record of threatening Radio Margibi Journalists with a physical attack vowing to physically brutalize them.
In total, the Eighth Quarterly Report contains five attacks and two lawsuits. The Alert Office was set up in 2017 by the PUL, in collaboration with Inter-news/USIAD, as part of the Media Development Program.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia is calling on the journalism community to help publicize these Alert Reports as the documentations are intended to build notoriety in the public around the characters of people who found it pleasing to attack journalists.