The West African Journalists Association (WAJA) has welcomed the petition filed by the Press Union of Liberia to the Supreme Court of Liberia to reverse the arbitrary closure of the National Chronicle Newspaper.
WAJA says it is disappointed that the Liberian Government has insisted on the illegal closure of the Chronicle Newspaper in an environment of heightened awareness for the rule of law.
WAJA president Peter Quaqua said it is unfortunate that the Liberian government would choose the path of censoring the media while dealing with crippling Ebola crisis. The group calls on the Supreme Court to relieve the government of any additional embarrassment by ordering the reopening of the newspaper.
The PUL last Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court of Liberia for a writ of prohibition against the closure of the newspaper.
On August 14, this year, heavily armed police officers invaded the premises of the National Chronicle Newspaper in Monrovia, shut it down and arrested two members of its staff who were later released.
The newspaper has since been closed while its Publisher, Philipbert Brown, has been subjected to an endless police investigations.
Government said it closed down the paper on national security concerns, in reaction to a series of stories linking the country’s Vice President Joseph Boakai to the alleged formation of an interim government to replace the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The Press Union wrote a protest letter to Liberia’s Justice Minister, Christiana Tah on September 4, 2014, terming the attacks on the media as “bad omen for press freedom and government-media relations.”
The Supreme Court Justice in Chambers, Kabineh M. Ja’neh, was scheduled on Wednesday, September 24, to hold a mandatory conference with the parties at 2:30. But that conference has been postponed to today, Friday, September 26, 2014.
According to a WAJA release, no level of emergency is a justification for governments to violate basic human rights. The organization, therefore, calls for the reopening of the newspaper.