-INCHR Expresses Concern Over Waves of Events
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) said it is concerned over the shape of events that surrounded the arrest of staff and temporary closure of the Front-Page Africa Newspaper, the gruesome murder of Journalist Tyron Browne, the situation at the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) among others.
acting chairman, Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley of the INCHR
The INCHR says as a human rights institution mandated to promote and protect human rights in the country, it is under obligation to give opinion on human rights situation and appropriately advise government.
In a statement signed by the commission’s acting chairman, Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley, the institution named some of the troubling events currently in the country as the closure of Front-page Africa newspaper by the civil law court and the subsequent arrest of its staff by sheriff of the Civil Law Court through the reliance of a writ of summon dated 5th April 2018, that should have been responded to on 15th April 2018 with hearing being scheduled on the third working Monday in June 2018, the gruesome murder of a local journalist, Mr. Tyron A. Browne, the purported video circulating in the country where a Liberian is being tortured, the controversial removal of the Head of Secretariat at the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) as some of the troubling issues in the country.
The commission also said it is trouble over allegation of blackmailing circulating in the country through the media. It is also urging the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to thoroughly investigate the matter as it has the proclivity to bully the media in submission or undermine the independence of a free press the country defends.
At the same time, the commission is appreciating the effort of the Liberia National Police in investigating the gruesome murder of journalist Browne that has led to the arrest of the prime suspect, Jonathan Williams.
However, the commission is urging the LNP to enlist the help of external crime investigators to exert more efforts and speedily carry on the investigation by bringing all perpetrators to justice.
Meanwhile, the commission said in an effort to ensure the realization of these expressed commitments of freedom of speech and expression and others, it is arranging audience with the President to follow-up on issues regarding: the enactment of a bill to decriminalize defamation and develop strict limits on damages available in civil defamation suits, the enactment of bill to transform the Liberian Broadcasting System into an Independent Public Broadcasting network and enact the Community Broadcasting Bill.
Others are establishing a regulatory framework for government advertising to ensure accountability and transparency; and strengthening the PUL self-regulatory system to ensure a responsible and accountable media among others.