The NEWS (Monrovia)

8 October 2012

Liberia: PUL Condemns 'Mental Torturing' of Journalist

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has in the strongest term deplored the arrest, incarnation and mental torturing of Journalist George Borteh of the New Republic Newspaper on orders of Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi.

The Police Inspector General's orders were executed Friday, October 12, 2012 after the journalist allegedly took his photograph on the ground of the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill.

Journalist Borteh said Inspector General Massaquoi order his arrest and subsequent imprisonment in a cell of hardened criminals because he said the camera light flashed in his face.

The Police Director claimed that the taking of his photograph was an assault for which he ordered the journalist's detention, but the PUL has taken serious exception to the act, classifying same as a nicked abuse of power and an attack on press freedom.

The PUL argues that the Police Chief is a public figure who should expect to be photographed once in public domain like the Temple of Justice, and was not justified in ordering the arrest and detention of the journalist.

In a release issued Wednesday, the PUL said the action of Inspector General Massaquoi totally contradicts the government's pronounced commitment to upholding press freedom and freedom of expression.

The journalist union said it was quite unfortunate that a top government official like the police chief would use his position and power to descend on others by violating their rights to due process of law, if he felt offended.

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