The Liberian Institute for Public Integrity (LIPI), condemns in the strongest terms, the arrest and subsequent incarceration of the Publisher and Founder of Frontpage Africa Newspaper and online magazine, Mr. Rodney Sieh by the government of Liberia using its functionaries.
LIPI is appalled by the action of the government through the courts to inaugurate the silencing of a critical voice of free speech and by extension the independent media in Liberia utilizing the constant threats of lawsuits.
This latest audacious intimidation of the press under the guise of citizens' lawsuits must be opposed by all well-meaning Liberians and LIPI urges the international community to swiftly intervene and arrest the rapidly deteriorating state of governance in Liberia. The resounding turn-out of the population to denounce the imprisonment of journalist Rodney Sieh at the Civil Court resistance f the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Rodney
LIPI has followed the concocted intimidation scheme organized by proxy well placed governmental authorities and executed through the judiciary to shut down Frontpage Africa under a frivolous and bogus libel lawsuit against the paper, its editor-in-chief and reporter.
LIPI observes with dismay the persistence and systematic pursuits of independent papers including the Broom, Independent and Frontpage by president Sirleaf and her accomplices with the sole purpose of establishing a doom political society - a society in which official corruption, patronage, and nepotism thrives without a voice for accountability.
LIPI recalls president Sirleaf is a signatory to the Table Mountain Declaration which requires public officials to be held to a much higher standard and forbid the use of their privileged connections, positions in government and access to taxpayers' money to strangulate the independent media. LIPI wonders what standard was used by the Supreme Court of Liberia to determine and impose a fine of US1.5million Frontpage Africa consistent with the laws of Liberia.
It can be recalled in April of this year, the government of president Sirleaf was constrained to allegedly bribe the leadership of a group of disenchanted members of the population who have threatened to undertake a mass demonstration against repeated failed promises to create jobs, improve the social well-being of the population and eradicate corruption.
Earlier last week, Mr. Cyril Allen, Chairman of the former ruling National Patriotic Party of Liberia decried the failure of the government to provide effective leadership and called for Sirleaf's immediate resignation. These trends and the current decent on Frontpage undeniably accounts for a worrisome state of governance and deterioration of the democratic process.
LIPI calls upon the government of Liberia to ensure the full safety of Mr. Sieh and respect of his human rights while in their custody.
1. J. Aloysius Toe is former Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights and
2. Dan Saryee is former Executive Director of Liberia Democratic Institute (LDI)
3. Cllr. Jerome Verdier is Chairman of the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia,
4. John S. Morlu II is former Auditor General of Liberia,
5. Massa Washington is a career Journalist and Commissioner of the former TRC of Liberia,
6. Ernest S. Maximore is a Liberian Journalist and Lawyer
7. Charles Kwalonue Sunwabe, Jr., Esq is American-trained Lawyer
8. Julius Suku is a Social Activist,
9. J. Kerkula Foeday is former Student Leader of the University of Liberia and founder of the National Center Against Crime & Violence