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The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has taken the Government of Liberia to the Supreme Court of Liberia over the closure of the National Chronicle Newspaper.
The PUL in a petition Thursday, September 18, 2014 said the closure of the paper is denting the citizens the right to information as guaranteed under Article 15 (c ) of the 1986 Constitution.
According to the PUL, this provision is being threatened, hijacked and trampled upon by an arbitrary and illegal closure order of the offices of the National Chronicles by the Liberia National Police and the Ministry Information in the absent of any judicial process consistent with due process of law.
The Liberian Journalists Union said such illegal action is not only a painful reminder of the ‘old order’ and of the past military dictatorship where citizens and corporate entities were subjected to all forms of horrific and extra judicial actions but presents a ‘clear and present danger’ to press freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. PUL told the Court that the petition is urgent and necessary to inhibit, restrain and prevent the unorthodox application of scare tactics and material law practices adopted by the Government of Liberia, the Respondent herein to prevent it from demonstrating a callous and blatant disregard for press freedoms, individual rights as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
The PUL further said the petition is necessary to prevent the Respondent from any further illegal acts and activities as it has done as demonstrably shown by it unprovoked attacks, the arbitrary arrest of two staffers at the National Chronicles Offices, and the deployment of two trucks loads of armed police officers at the paper’s offices since August 14, 2014 up to and including the time of filling of the petition.
According to the Union, the action has prevented the paper from operations and the disproportionate use of force by tear-gassing and breaking down the offices of the paper as though the paper and Mr. Philipbert Browne were “armed combatants” which is not the case.