4 June 2007

Liberia: Ban Lifted On Newspaper That Published Sex Photograph of Ex-Official

press release

The government of Liberia has lifted the ban imposed on the "Independent" newspaper.

Information Minister Dr. Laurence Bropleh announced the lifting of the ban when he addressed journalists on 30 May 2007.

The government, on 27 February, revoked the operational permit of the "Independent" after it published a photograph showing President Ellen Sirleaf's then chief of office staff Willis Knuckles engaging in group sex with two ladies.

Announcing the lifting of the ban at a press conference held in Monrovia, Dr. Bropleh said the action to revoke the newspaper's permit was in keeping with the Ministry of Information's statutory mandate to serve as regulator and enforcement body of the government on matters affecting communication in the country.

He, however, vowed that the government will continue to work for press freedom in Liberia.

The newspaper's legal counsellor Atty. Serius Cephas has described the government's decision to lift the ban on the newspaper as a sham.

Atty. Cephas told CEMESP that the "Independent" is seeking justice, and not pardon. He described as an irony for the government, who happens to be the defendant in the case, to pardon instead of the complainant (the "Independent").

"We want the Supreme Court to rule on the matter," Atty. Cephas averred.

It can be recalled that the "Independent" filed a lawsuit against the government for the illegal closure of the newspaper.

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