Press Union of Liberia Petitions Supreme Court to Quash Chronicle Closure Order

Monrovia, September 18, 2014:The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has filed a Writ of Prohibition with the Supreme Court of Liberia, requesting a reversal of the continuous and illegal closure of the National Chronicle Newspaper by the LiberianGovernment.

The PUL, in the petition filed, prayed the Supreme Court, to reverse the government’s decision to close the paper, which followed the August
14, 2014 incident where heavily armed police officers barricaded the streets, broke into the offices of The National Chronicle Newspaper and shut it down.

The huge police presence and violent movement caused serious fear across the city, with some citizens taking to their heels while other spread
rumor of war.

Police had gone to arrest the Publisher of the Newspaper Philipbert Brown without a writ or any other warrant in connection with a story the paper had published about an interim government the paper claimed was being established.

Two of the paper’s staff, Monica Samuels and Philipbert Brown, Jr. were beaten by state security while two others—Emmanuel Logan (IT personnel) and Emanuel Mensah (Editor)—were briefly jailed and released after their lawyer’s intervention.

The PUL, in the petition, condemned the closure of the paper as a violation of press freedom and free speech as guaranteed under Article 15 (c)
of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.

The petition lamented that “the constitutional guarantee of the unlimited rights of the public to be informed” is being “threatened, hijacked and
trampled upon by the arbitrary and illegal closure order of the offices of the national Chronicle Newspaper…” 

The PUL emphasized the urgency of the petition “ inhibit, restrain and prevent the unorthodox application of scare tactics and martial law practices adopted by the government…to prevent it from demonstrating a callous and blatant disregard for press freedoms, individual rights as enshrined in the 1986 constitution of Liberia.”

PUL Legal Counsel Syrenius Cephus said by filing the petition, “the PUL has disagreed with the government and is now exploring judicial action
to turn over the illegality.”

PUL President Abdullai Kamara said the Writ of Prohibition is the way to go now, given that political recourses have not yielded any positive and
agreeable responses.

Kamara noted that the government is under obligation to guarantee justice and ensure that the rule of law prevails, and expressed confidence that
the court is the available body to interpret the law, and ensure that justice is served.

D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh
Secretary General
Press Union Of Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia
Cell:+231 886 586 531
     +231 777 586 531

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