The NEWS (Monrovia)

28 January 2013

Liberia: Journalists Want Media to Boycott MDGs Confab

The apparent delay in the ongoing trial involving the News Director of the Royal Communications (King's FM) has provoked calls by some members of the Liberian media to boycott Tuesday's High Level Panel Conference on the Post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Last week, a group of media practitioners called on their colleagues to boycott the forthcoming conference on the post MDGs as a protest against Liberian government failure to expedite the court trial of Darlington Pelenah.

The call for the local media to boycott the upcoming conference followed days after the Judge hearing the case disbanded the jury based upon what he called "miscarriage of justice".

The judge disbanded the jury on grounds that some members of the panel were tampered with.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, the group's spokesperson Alexander Bealded, expressed disappointment with the manner in which the case is being handled.

He said the case has taken a dramatic turn because it has lasted for months without any logical conclusion and the Judge has proven that he does not have the legal neutrality to handle the case.

Bealded believes that the government's action was merely intended to silence journalist Palenah whom he considered a critical voice speaking on ills within the government.

He wondered why the judge would grant a prosecution motion that was acquiesced by the court, nothing that "justice delayed is justice denied".

Bealded said the delay in the case of journalist Palenah is an attempt by the government to perpetuate the trial for a long period.

At the same time, the "Friends of Palenah" are calling on media institutions in the country to boycott all events of the forthcoming High Level Panel Conference on the Post MDGs that is expected to convene in Monrovia on January 29, 2013.

A spokesperson of the "Friends of Palenah", George Tulay, called on the media community in the country to join the friends of Palenah in holding up placards to draw the attention of the international guests that press freedom is still being "suppressed" in Liberia.

He said it was important for President Sirleaf to know that "selective justice" is dangerous to the country's match to democracy.

The spokesperson recalled that during the trial of Senator Dan Morias who was charged with murder, he was put on bail and after two terms of court expired with no verdict in his case, he was released.

Tulay claimed there were situations where some citizens were freed from prison without going through due process on days when courts were not event opened.

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