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The West African Journalists Association 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 relief the government of any additional embarrassment by ordering the reopening of the Paper.
The PUL on September 18, 2014 petitioned the Supreme Court of Liberia for a writ of prohibition against the seizure of the paper.
On August 14th this year, heavily armed police officers invaded the premises of the National Chronicle Newspaper in Monrovia, shut down the paper and arrested two of its staff who were later released.
The paper has since been closed while its Managing Publisher Philipbert Brown has been subjected to endless police investigations.
Government said it closed down the paper on national security concerns, in reaction to a story 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 Christina Tah on September 4, 2014, terming the wave of 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 expected Wednesday, September 24, to hold a mandatory conference with the parties at 2:30.
According to a WAJA release, no level of emergency is a justification for the government to violate basic human rights; and therefore, calls for the reopening of the Paper.