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In Solidarity with Press Freedom in Liberia: We Stand with FrontpageAfrica’s Editor

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been heralded for supporting press freedom in Liberia but the imprisonment of the Editor of Liberia’s biggest newspaper, “FrontpageAfrica”, Rodney Sieh

Editor Sieh in court with pillow as he prepared to go to prison

Editor Sieh in court with pillow as he prepared to go to prison

is by no means an addendum to press freedom in Liberia. The imprisonment of Mr Sieh is a clear manifestation of the Liberian government determination to stiffing the  press  with the motive to silence the  media from reporting stories revealing vices in government.   In solidarity with the unjustifiable imprisonment of the FrontpagAfrica’s Editor  on a case in which by all legal standard other than jungle justice, would had been thrown out of any court room, we stand with FrontpageAfrica  and press freedom in Liberia.

Dr_J_Chris_Toe

Dr.Chris Toe

Editor Sieh imprisonment also amplifies how the Liberian justice system is a kangaroo system operating in the shadow of the executive branch of government and dispenses  justice  only to the powerful and the highest bidders. The failure of the Supreme Court of Liberia to categorically inform Editor Sieh when it threw out his appeal on grounds that the case was not filed properly but failed to inform  the Editor that the case could be accepted if  he refiled the case using the proper filing process and format required. The Supreme Court failure to give clear reason of throwing out Mr Sieh’ appeal   created the impression  that the nation’s final court upheld the lower court’s rulings and that he had exhausted his legal options.

According to legal practitioners, FrontpageAfrica and its Editor still have their legal option to refile their appeal to the Supreme Court by doing the proper filing this time and if done,  Editor Sieh would be  immediately released  from prison  while he awaits his appeal.

“The New Dispensation”  condemns and views the imprisonment of the Editor as undemocratic and politically motivated as evident by the  public display of President Sirleaf’s close confidantes and public officials  open  attacks on the Editor  on talk shows.

It is a shock that an alleged criminal, ex-Minister Chris Toe who should had in fact be in prison for misappropriating public funds would file a law suit of libel and a court awards him his wish. This case has all the hallmarks  of ‘blaming the victim’, an alleged criminal suing the press, the watchdog of the public trust,  is being penalized for reporting a crime documented in a public report. The Liberian people and the press must rally to resist the war  to silence  the  media and the undemocratic tool to erode the country’s embryonic democracy.

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