‘Repeal Anti-Free Speech Legislations’

Reporter

-PUL President Urges Weah’s Government

By R Joyclyn Wea

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) through its president Charles Coffey has urged the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government to join the journalism community in Liberia in championing the repeal of the Anti-Free Speech Legislations in the country.

PUL President, Charles Coffey

Coffey believes when done, the repeal will serve as the first step to the commencement of the long-sought improvement of the legal operating environment of the media in Liberia.

The Press Union President made the statement Thursday, April 26, 2018, at the Ministry Of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in when he appeared to give update regarding the May 3, 2018, observance of this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

The year’s WPFD celebration is expected to take place in one of Liberia hard to reach counties, Maryland.

Thou Coffey did not give no further reliance for his call to the Weah’s government, but this call comes in the wake of unusual happenings in the media community either by some alleged state actors who think they or the George Weah’s government is being hunted by the independent media.

“Shock we are over the death of press freedom and free expression luminary, Kamara Abdullai Kamara and the gruesome murdered of Tyron A. Brown, the highest forum to honor these two colleagues is no other than at the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day,” Coffey asserted.

According to the PUL head, the case is a test of pronounced commitment to journalists’ protection and a transparent passing rudimentary legal x-ray will tell the rest of the world that the Liberian democracy is in the advance stage of maturing, noting it is in this respect that the PUL is sticking to its plan to take the 2018 world press Freedom Day events to Maryland county in Liberia’s hard to reach southeast.

He further that the PUL has followed the arrest, interrogation, confession, indictment and forwarding to court of individuals detained in connection with the death of journalist brown.

“We at the union are delighted at progress made in the commencement of the court proceedings and we will follow the case like any civil organization in Liberia to the end,” Coffey bewailed.

World Press Freedom Day is annually observed on May 3 to inform the nations of the world that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights, and to as well remind people that many journalists brave death or face jail to bring daily news to the public.

In observance of the day, journalists’ unions, governments, civil society organizations among many communities around the globe organize events ranging from art exhibitions, dinners featuring keynote speakers, and awards nights to honor those journalists who have risked their lives to bring news to the world.

During these events, tributes are offered to media professionals who risked or lost their lives in the line of duty while as well recognizing outstanding and impactful journalism during the last period.

World press Freedom Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1993 as a result of the seminar on promoting an independent and pluralistic African press.

This was in Windhoek, in Namibia in 1991 and led to the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on promoting independent and pluralistic media.

The Windhoek declaration called to establish, maintain and foster an independent, pluralistic and free press and emphasized the importance of a free press for developing and maintaining democracy in a nation, and for economic development. World press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on May 3, the date on which the Windhoek Declaration was adopted.

Although World Press Freedom Day has only been celebrated since 1993, it has much deeper roots in the United Nations. Article 19 of the 1948 universal declaration on human rights sates that everyone “has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

This year’s WPFD will be held in Accra, Ghana under the global theme: “keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law,” focusing on the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom and gives attention to the role of an independent judiciary ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists.

Meanwhile, some activities gracing the celebration include team reporting Grand Kru and Maryland counties, Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum-Tubman University and parade and formal event on Thursday May 3, 2018.

The reporting exercises will produce stories on healthcare, education, agriculture, food security, access to justice among other things; that’s according to Coffey.

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