23 November 2017

Liberia: Police IG Warns Public Against Hate Speech

Photo: Liberian National Police
Police Inspectpr General Gregory Coleman

Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman has warned Liberians who are constantly involved in broadcasting hate speech over electronic media, especially on social network sites, to immediately desist, or face the consequence.

IG Coleman said the police was forced to issue the warning after noticing the increase in hate speech with the ability to undermine the country's peace and cause violence, which they cannot sit and allow to continue.

"We have observed that some individuals are in the constant habit of misusing social and the electronic media to preach or promote hate messages. We condemn this behavior and urge those involved to desist right now. If these kinds of behavior continue, the police will start to arrest those who are involved in such acts.

"Currently, we have put in place security measures to monitor all of the activities on social media and that of electronic media. Although the country's constitution guarantees freedom of speech, it doesn't in anyway mean that they should abuse it. Freedom of speech doesn't require hate speech," Coleman stated.

IG Coleman warned that LNP has started tracking individuals who open fake Facebook accounts just to mislead the public and cause confusion, and promised to take action against those involved.

It can be recalled that President Sirleaf also frowned on similar behavior recently and cautioned Liberians to use the social media to promote peace instead of using hate massages that could undermine the peace and stability of the state, adding that it was important to avoid posting these kinds of hate messages on social media. But it appears as if her warning has failed to yield the desired result of stopping offensive or unpleasant messages.

In a related development, the Liberian National Police spokesman, Sam Collins, disclosed that the LNP this week graduated 64 police officers from the Police Academy following an intensive firearm training in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

Collins said after graduation the officers will be issued firearms to help boost security in the country.

He also disclosed that the graduates are commanders and officers from various zones and depots from across the country. He further told journalists that when officers are armed, they will be able to respond effectively and efficiently to crimes and other related issues.

The LNP spokesman clarified that these armed officers are aware of the rules and regulations that govern the use of arms, which they are expected to abide by. "During the training, they were told how and when to use the arms that are issued, that is why we gave the arms to responsible police officers," he said.

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