The attention of the Reporters Association of Liberia has been drawn to the recent action of Information Minister Eugene Nagbe who publicly referred to a female journalist in a contemptuous, insulting, defamatory manner, thus violating the principle of freedom of information and drawing attention to the terrible pressure to which media personnel are often subjected just for doing their job.
This increased attention reflects concerns on the growing safety threat to reporters in Liberia, especially a Journalists, Esthel Liberty Karmoh who was reportedly insulted by a Liberian Government Official, Lynn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism.
Reporter Karmoh was humiliated by Minister Nagbe who reportedly threw invectives at her on occasion marking the State of the Nation’s Address by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
RAL denounced the minister who publicly attacked journalist Karmoh and other media outlets instead of responding to their inquiry on Monday, January 23, 2017 at the grounds of the Capitol in Monrovia.
The group said the action of Minister Nagbe shows that Freedom of expression and free media remains at stake in Liberia and there is no action to protect female reporters’safety and media freedom in general.
How can reporters function normally if the Ministry of Information who is supposed to provide a free environment for the practice of journalism is headed by a person who holds them up to disdain, abuse, bullies and threats.
RAL said this contradicts the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution (A/HRC/33/L.6) on the safety of journalists, setting out its most comprehensive agenda on states to end attacks on journalists.
This resolution also condemns specific attacks on women journalists, including sexual and gender-based discrimination and violence, recognizing also that intimidation and harassment against women journalists take place in news gathering places.
The Reporters Association of Liberia noted that the leadership at the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism has created an “unprecedented threat” to the rights of reporters, especially female.
It added that the Minister’s statement creates a dreadful environment for all reporters, especially those who cover the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism press briefing.
“This act raises concern about the safety of reporters in Liberia, especially during this crucial election year,” the group observed.
Reporters Association of Liberia is therefore calling on the Press Union of Liberia to conduct a speedy investigation into this matter.
All efforts by this paper to get the Minister side of the story proved futile up to press time.