Liberia: Press Freedom Gains Reversed – LP Reacts to Media Executive Imprisonment
The National Executive Committee of Liberty Party says its attention has been drawn to the legal battle that is ongoing between the Management of the Frontpage Africa Newspaper and former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Chris Toe bordering on “defamation of character”.
Claiming to be an institution that subscribes to the rule of law, Liberty Party says it will do nothing to undermine the interpretation of the law by the High Court as is in the case in point.
The party however says the trend the case is taking poses a potential danger to the collective quest for the building of a vibrant press that responds to the grave challenges of the time, especially in the face of persistent calls by national leadership for a robust fight against the national scourge called ‘Corruption’ and other vices.
“While we hold it true that the case is one that does not involve the government as a defendant or a plaintiff as is being argued by some government functionaries,” the Liberty Party says the Frontpageafrica case reveals, for all practical purposes and intents, a serious reversal of the gains that have been made to lift press freedom to a higher ground, even with the government’s endorsement of the Table Mountain Declaration.
The party states: “The Table Mountain Declaration, as we know, seeks to remove the crippling effects of repressive measures, ranging from the jailing and persecution of journalists to the pervasive scourge of ‘insult laws’ and criminal defamation that tend to inhibit journalists from tackling much of the evils that beset the African Continent.”
The Liberty Party called for the exercise of the highest degree of state craft in dealing with the current issue, more so that it represents a major test for our fledgling democracy and the need for a strong press that is not fettered by fears of the strong and extended arms of the government.