The FIJ Calls for the Release of an Editor and a Publisher in Liberia

The International Federation of Journalists today called for the immediate and unconditional release of Surinus Cephus, editor of the daily newspaper, Plain Truth and Michael Makinde, director of Seamarco Printing Press, publisher of the newspaper in Monrovia, capital of Liberia.

“It’s very surprising that after having made lot of progress on press freedom, the government of Liberia is taking a step backwards” said Gabriel Baglo     IFJ Africa Office Director. “The government should have simply refuted the allegations and then  let the judiciary to do its work without any need for arresting our colleagues for a week since more than one week” he added.

Following the publication on December 9th of an article  that alleged  the President of Liberia “t provide weapons to Guinean dissidents to reverse the military junta”, the publisher was initially arrested on Saturday ,December 12th, followed by the editor who was arrested on Monday, December 14th. They are held in the headquarters of the National Security Agency (a Unit of the Police in charge of the State Security and the Intelligence Service)

In an official statement published on December 15, 2009 in Monrovia, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), an IFJ affiliate, denounced what appears to be an intimidating policy of the Government of President Sirleaf expressed in the harassment of commercial printing houses whenever there is a publication the Government considers unfavorable.

The FIJ demands the immediate release of the arrested journalists and call on the media in Liberia to show great regard in relation to the ethics of the profession as a way of promoting quality journalism in the continent, so that the process of liberalization of the media sector which has already started in the country, will continue to be consolidated.

For more information contact the IFJ at   +221 33 867 95 87   

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide