A new phenomenal is emerging at the House of Representatives with accredited journalists from independent media institutions being denied access to the chambers to cover regular session.
Several accredited journalists were on Tuesday, February 26, prevented from covering the session of the House of Representatives under the pretext of lack of seating capacity.
The decision comes barely few days after that body revoked the
accreditation of four Legislative reporters, including the President of
the Legislative Reporters Association or LEGISPOL, Musa Kenneh, for their reportage.
In his letter announcing the revocation last week, the director of press at the House Isaac G. Reed, said as a matter of improving relationship with media institutions and inviting quality to the output of coverage to the public and the Legislature, they have adopted a policy to infuse new reporters and remove those who were redundant and repetitive in their reportage.
He said they have observed over past time that some reporters have overstayed at the Capitol and adapted a redundant style of reportage, repeating one thing over and over that does not make any sense to the public, so based on feedback, they took the decision to revoke accreditation of four reporters.
On Tuesday, assigned reporters had gathered to provide coverage for the session, but shockingly, they were prevented by security assigned at the Chambers of the House of Representatives.
A guard at the entrance of the Chamber told this paper he had received
straight instructions to only accept four assigned reporters along
with two representatives from IREX and the United States Embassy, near Monrovia.
Media institutions allowed to cover Tuesday’s session included the State
Broadcaster ELBC, the Liberia News Agency, and Prime FM along with
representatives from the House of Representatives Press Bureau.
Independent media institutions such as The New Dawn, News Public Trust, The Hot Pepper, OK FM, Truth FM, Capitol Times Newspaper, The Inprofile Daily and Frabric Radio, among others.
Meanwhile, the affected reporters are calling for intervention of
the Press Union of Liberia and international partners to ensure
journalists are not restricted or discriminated against in the discharge of their duties.
They said the latest posture by the House is a clear contradiction to the recently passed Kamara A. Kamara Act, protecting Press freedom. The Law was passed enacted by both chambers of the Legislature and is currently before President George Manneh Weah for signature and printing into handbill.
-As House denies Independent media access
By Bridgett Milton –Editing by Jonathan Browne