Liberia ALERT: Journalist arrested   

Emmanuel Mondaye, a reporter of the independent Inquirer newspaper, has been arrested by State Security forces and is currently detained at the National Police Headquarters in Monrovia.

Mondaye was arrested on Saturday May 11, 2002 in the central provincial city of Gbarnga, where he had gone to report on the alleged looting of homes and shops by government forces. According to MFWA-Liberia sources, Mondaye’s equipment was confiscated when it was discovered that he had taken some pictures of the looting scene.

Journalists and the independent media in Liberia have been victims of incessant acts of intimidation and assault since President Taylor imposed a State of Emergency in February this year, in response to rebel advances on the capital, Monrovia. The government has used those State of Emergency powers to impose restrictions on the reporting of human rights abuses and other excesses committed by State Security officers. Persons who dare to go beyond the government’s version of information are routinely picked up by security agents. It would be recalled that when the Analyst newspaper published the text of a speech made by human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe about democracy and peace in the Mano River Union, the government used the state of emergency laws to shut down the paper. The media was further instructed not to report on Cllr Gongloe’s incarceration and torture by State Security agents.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is concerned about the fate of media practitioners in Liberia and urges the government of President Taylor to stop the serial abuse of media freedom and human rights in the country. The MFWA appeals to you to protest the illegal detention of Mr Mondaye, as well as the distressing state of media freedom, freedom of expression and human rights under the government of Mr Taylor.

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