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Liberian parliament revokes press accreditation of journalists

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivers her State of the Nation address to a joint session of the legislature in Monrovia, Liberia, 26 January 2015
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivers her State of the Nation address to a joint session of the legislature in Monrovia, Liberia, 26 January 2015

John Moore/Getty Images

This statement was originally published by cemesp-liberia.org on 22 February 2019.

Parliamentary accreditation granted to some of the journalists covering the National Legislature of Liberia has been revoked by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers.

One of the reporters, Musa Kenneh, affected by this decision was not personally informed. The organisation he works for, Renaissance Communications Incorporated, was notified in a February 21, 2019 communication under the signature of the Director of Press Isaac Redd.

The notice reads: "We have adapted a policy to infuse new reporters and remove those who are redundant and repetitive in their coverages" was the reason given for the revocation of the journalist's accreditation.

Many say that in regards to Musa Kanneh, a Press Union of Liberia award winning journalist, the revocation of his accreditation could be linked to his numerous investigative and critical reports about corruption, budget manipulation and administrative lapses at the National legislature.

The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding sees the decision by Speaker Chambers as an attempt to undermine media freedom and deprive Liberians of the right to factual and accurate information.

CEMESP's Executive Director Malcolm Joseph is quoted as saying that there is no legal basis that validates the action of the Speaker through the Department of Press at the Lower House to revoke the accreditation of journalists assigned at the legislature.

Mr. Joseph therefore calls for the immediate rescinding of the anti-media decisions and for allowing all journalists, including Musa Kenneh, to resume their beats at the legislature.

The Liberian Senate recently passed the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom which seeks to repeal some sections of the Penal Law of Liberia to decriminalize speech and create an environment for unfettered media practice in Liberia.

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