Joint IFJ/WAJA call for Liberia

The International Federation of Journalists expressed today its support for the appeal of the Western African Journalists Association (WAJA) to the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), calling for an improved level of respect for journalistic rights in Western Africa and particularly for regional solidarity in light of the appalling situation for journalists in Liberia.

Ibrahim Famakan Coulibaly and Malcom Joseph, President and Vice-President of WAJA respectively, were invited to participate in the work of the Parliament of ECOWAS from the 4th to the 13th of June, 2003 in Abuja (Nigeria). Their contributions at this session focused on the role of the media in the political integration of the countries of ECOWAS.

“We call on ECOWAS to take responsibility in supporting the promotion and integration of an effective legal framework based on freedom of expression, journalists’ safety and the professional responsibility of the media”, stated Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. ‘We are waiting for a concrete and swift response from ECOWAS as regards the prevailing situation in Liberia, where physical threats on individual journalists have directly followed the closure of the few remaining independent FM radios”, he added.

“We are extremely worried by the fate of Liberian journalists during this period of armed conflict in Monrovia”, stated Ibrahim Famakan Coulibaly. Malcom Joseph, General Secretary of the Press Union of Liberia, remains trapped in Abuja.

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The IFJ represents more than 500, 000 in more than 100 countries