Police authorities in Monrovia have regretted the August 19, 2015 flogging two local journalists. Police spokesman Sam Collins, who spoke Wednesday on a local radio station, said the police were in the wrong for beating journalists.
Journalists Leila Gbati of the Women Voices Newspaper and Aloysius David of The News Newspaper were ruthlessly beaten on Tuesday, 19 August by officers of the Police Support Unit or PSU. The assault on the journalists came after they reported recent protest by private school teachers, who converged at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draw President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s attention about delays in the payment of their Ebola hardship benefits.
The LNP spokesman said the police and the media need to work together in serving the public rather than police officers brutalizing reporters. According to reports, Journalist Leila Gbati was publicly whipped, while photographing scenes of protest by teachers, resulting to loss of her camera and sustaining wounds on her upper right body, while Journalist Aloysius David was roughed up and assaulted at the same event.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia said it has become a habit of the police to continuously beat Journalists while carrying on their duties. An officer of the Liberia National Police only identified as Sonkalay, demonstrated the same action against Journalists Emmanuel Degleh and Joseph B. Sackie while attending a press conference at the Margibi County Police Detachment in Kakata.
The PUL noted that no serious government that believes in the rule of law would countenance any spur of the minute and barbaric response like public flogging and assault for anyone, least to mention a journalist regardless of the alleged offense committed.
It noted that this new wave of assaults against media personnel by state security is a calculated attempt to threaten them and limit space for peaceful communication in the country.
By Ethel A. Tweh