News Publishers Call on Political Actors to Avoid Violence, Uphold Rule of Law

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The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) is disturbed about the current wave of violence and lawlessness leading to the December 8 midterm Senatorial elections and National Referendum.

The Publishers Association, which represents the owners and Managing Editors of Newspapers and Online publications operating in Liberia, says in recent times, it has observed an increase in political violence involving partisans of political parties, which seriously threatens our Democracy and undermines the nation’s collective peace and security as a people and nation.

“These violent activities including disrupting and stone-throwing during political rallies and gatherings, using mainly our youths as an instrument, are totally unacceptable and dangerous,” says the association.

According to the group, these uncivilized behaviors have kept Liberia lagging behind in development and should therefore have no space in the current democratic dispensation and, as such, political actors must refrain from such scare and dangerous tactics.

At an emergency executive meeting of PAL on Monday, October 12, 2020, the Publishers opted to remind Liberian political leaders and actors of the fragility of the country’s striving democracy and to encourage all to canvass in conformity with the rule of law to avoid undemocratic practices that would revert the country to its ugly past.

The PAL references the mysterious deaths of senior personnel of Integrity Institutions as very worrisome, fearful, and urges the Liberian Government to expeditiously investigate these incidents to bring the culprits to justice, as the entire citizenry is now bewildered in fear and apprehension about the worsening security situation in the country.

The Publishers Association further states that these unsolved alleged murders of key professionals, compounded by the increasing political tension which has characterized the senatorial elections, have the propensity to scare and drive away potential investors in the face of the worsening economic conditions. 

“While we respect the authority of the Liberian National Police in probing these fearful and grave matters of national security, reports of consistent and persistent harassment and intimidation of journalists who are reporting these mysterious and alarming deaths constitute a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 19 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”  

PAL admonishes the Liberian Government to harness consultations with other major stakeholders to resolve these sticking concerns to reduce the current political tension ahead of the December 8 Elections.

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