29 February 2016

Liberia: Press Union Picks Bone With LFA

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has taken serious exception to the Liberia Football Association's (LFA) decision to ban Journalist Danesius Marteh from all football activities in the country.

"Banning him because of his speech is unthinkable in contemporary times and a statement of how urgently football needs international reform," the Press Union argued, and pledged to remain engaged with the LFA at all levels in ensuring that this ban is rescinded.

Recently, the Football Association banned with immediate effect UNMIL Radio's Sports Reporter Danesius Marteh from covering all football activities in Liberia.

A release quoted the LFA as saying that its action was due to Mr. Marteh continuous 'disrespectful posture' to football personalities and his display of 'unprofessional acts'.

According to a release from the LFA, Journalist Marteh recent outburst meted out against football icon, George Weah, during a recent radio show on Fabric FM on Saturday, February 20, 2016, was unwarranted and showed a high degree of unprofessionalism and violated the ethics of journalism.

Hence, the LFA is urging the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) to support its decision against journalist Marteh, adding that his continuous "show of disrespect and unbalance reportage" is hurting the journalism profession in Liberia.

The LFA has further directed all clubs under its membership to cease with immediate effect all cooperation and interaction with the UNMIL Radio reporter.

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has with immediate effect banned UNMIL Radio's Sports Reporter Danesius Marteh from all football activities in the country.

However, members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) have renewed their commitment to professional excellence, while seeking the fullest guarantees of the law as they exercise their right to free expression and of the press.

In a statement following a mass meeting held at the PUL headquarters in Monrovia, on Thursday February 25, 2016, the journalists agreed to continue their professional practice in accordance with journalistic Code of Conduct.

Thursday's meeting was meant to address growing tension between media, government and other actors, especially in the wake of the suspicious death of Harry Greaves.

At the meeting, members also drew the attention of the Union to various claims of threats reported by several journalists, including the unwarranted and ill-fated branding of some journalists as "assassins of the pens and airwaves".

The Union sees this characterization by key government actors, including Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, as a step backward in the dark pages of Liberia's history.

The Press Union of Liberia noted that the government is under a larger obligation to specify comments and statements on local media that qualify as incitement, especially as Minister Nagbe and other government functionaries have alleged.


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