Security forces in Monrovia on July 4, 2002 arrested and detained senior reporter Bobby Tapson and judicial reporter Sheriff Adams, both of The News newspaper.
According to information reaching the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the journalists were arrested in connection with a publication in the July 4, 2002 edition of The News, headlined: “Terror Descends On Monrovia”. The paper reported the discovery of dead bodies of people in the streets of Monrovia in recent weeks. Residents of Monrovia, in recent weeks, have been tense as dead bodies are found in places around the city regularly.
The arrest and detention of Tapson and Adams bring to three the number of journalists arrested by state security in the past two weeks. The editor of The Analyst newspaper, Hassan Bility was on June 24 arrested by security forces for his alleged connection with a coup plot to overthrow the government of Charles Taylor. Since his arrest, the Taylor government has failed on two occasions to produce Bility in court despite a court order, following a writ of habeas corpus filed by human rights lawyers.
On the same day of the arrests of Tapson and Adams, state security personnel also arrested Suku Wesseh, a Liberian staff of the UNHCR, and brother of Conmany Wesseh, exiled Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Empowerment.
The MFWA is worried about the safety of independent journalists in Liberia in the wake of the fast deteriorating state of human rights under President Charles Taylor’s regime. The MFWA requests you to kindly protest against the detention of the journalists and the Taylor government’s campaign to silence independent media in the country.