Publishers Association Frowns on Electoral Violence, Mysterious Deaths -Wants Govt. Speedily Investigate
The Press Union of Liberia affiliate body of Managing Editors of Newspapers and Online publications, the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL), has registered consternation over the current wave of violence and lawlessness leading to the December 8 midterm Senatorial elections and National Referendum.
The PAL in a press statement issued October 15, 2020, says it has observed an increase in political violence involving partisans of political parties which seriously threatens Liberia’s democracy and undermines the collective peace and security of the country and its people.
“These negative vices including disrupting and stone throwing at political rallies and gatherings using mainly our youths as instrument to perpetuate these violence, are totally unacceptable and dangerous,” the PAL cautioned, noting further that these uncivilized behaviors have kept Liberia far lagging behind in development and should therefore have no space in the current democratic dispensation and as such, political actors must refrain from such scare and dangerous tactics.
The Publishers Association represents the owners and Managing Editors of Newspapers and Online publications operating in Liberia.
At an emergency executive meeting of PAL on Monday October 12, 2020, the Publishers opted to remind Liberian political leaders and actors of the fragility of the country’s striving democracy and encouraged all to canvass in line with the rule of law and avoid undemocratic practices that would revert the country to its ugly past.
Meanwhile, the PAL has referenced the mysterious deaths of senior personnel of Integrity Institutions as very worrisome, fearful and urged the Liberian Authorities to expeditiously investigate these incidents and bring the culprits to justice, as the entire citizenry is now engulfed with fear and apprehension about the worsening security situation in the country.
The Publishers Association further state that these unsolved alleged murders of key professionals, compounded by the increasing political tension which has characterized the senatorial elections, have the propensity to scare and drive away potential investors in the face of the worsening economic conditions.
“While we respect the authority of the Liberian National Police in probing these fearful and grave matters of national security, reports of consistent and persistent harassment and intimidation of journalists who are reporting on these mysterious and alarming deaths, constitute a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration which states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; which includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers,” the PAL noted.
The Publishers further admonished the Liberian Government to harness consultations with other major stakeholders aimed at resolving those sticky concerns to reduce the current political tension ahead of the December 8 Elections.