UN Official Says Press Freedom Crucial To Society


Liberian journalists observe World Press Freedom Day 2014 with local government officials

Liberian journalists observe World Press Freedom Day 2014 with local government officials

An official of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Liberia has said without press freedom the people will be ill-informed and society incomplete.

UNESCO Officer-in-Charge Stevenson Siedi noted that in an environment where journalists are safe, citizens find it easier to access quality information that can be vital to making sound decisions and analyzing critical national issues. Continue reading

Liberian Police Force Urged To Be Peacemakers Than Peace-Enforcers


Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police

Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police

The Chairperson of the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC), Cllr. Gladys Johnson, is calling on officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to be more of peace makers than peace enforcers. She says this would require policemen to refrain from jailing citizens often for minor offenses that require warning. Continue reading

Double Mess: The Fate Of People Living With HIV In Liberia; Amidst The Deadly Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak


Written by Solomon Watkins-+231 (0) 886 427 519/ysolomonwwatkins@gamil.com

President of the Liberian Network of People Living with HIV (LIBNEP+) Joejoe Baysah

President of the Liberian Network of People Living with HIV (LIBNEP+) Joejoe Baysah

MONROVIA: More than three (3) decades now, HIV and AIDS continue to remain a major threat to Global Developmental Agendas, particularly programs of the Government of Liberia and its citizens.

According to the 2014 Liberia Demography Health Survey (2014LDS), the prevalence of people living with HIV has increased from 1.5% in 2007 to 1.9% currently. The survey noted that the 1.9% accounts for thirty eight thousand people tested HIV positive out of the Nation’s 4.2 million population.

As the national HIV and AIDS response is still confronted with challenges of stigma and discrimination, limited capacity for effective program implementation, ineffective monitoring and reporting of the national response, and most importantly, over dependency on external funding for the national program, Ebola which is being considered more than a health issue has begun to infect and killed people living with HIV in the country.

Already People Living with HIV (PLHIV) immune system are weakened by HIV and is only with the help of the Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) which is a treatment that can suppressed HIV and AIDS, latest reports gathered from associations of people living with the virus and their members revealed that more than seven (7) persons who had HIV have died of Ebola related causes in Liberia. Continue reading

Second Government Minister Undergoes Ebola Quarantine


Liberia’s Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to be quarantined after death of her driver from the Ebola virus

Liberia’s Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to be quarantined after death of her driver from the Ebola virus

Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to being quarantined following reports of the death of her driver, Nimene Sumo, from the Ebola virus.

Disclosing this Tuesday at the Ministry of Information regular Ebola press briefing at the ministry, Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Isaac Jackson, said contrary to speculations in the public, the Minister is not infected with the Ebola virus.

Minister Bush is the second cabinet official to undergo self quarantine. About three weeks ago, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn quarantined herself after a staff in her office died of Ebola.

A Transport Ministry release also clarifies that the late Sumo, a driver assigned with the Minister, has made no contact with her since his last day at work on Friday, October 3, 2014.

As a matter of precaution, Minister Cassell-Bush has decided to voluntarily isolate herself for the period of 21 days, commencing October 3, 2014, Mr. Sumo’s last day of work and the last day of her interaction with him. Continue reading

Security Council Hears 2nd Briefing On Ebola


The Security Council will today receive a briefing on Ebola followed by consultations. Briefers will be Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. The meeting, proposed by the US, is expected to focus on the security implications of the Ebola epidemic and its impact on the political and peacekeeping missions in the region. Continue reading

Licensing Journalists: A Panic Decision or an Act of Desperation?


By Peter Quaqua /12 October 2014

Introduction

WAJA President Peter Quaqua (far rights with colored shirt) joining Liberian journalist on observance of World Press Freedom Day 2014

WAJA President Peter Quaqua (far rights with colored shirt) joining Liberian journalist on observance of World Press Freedom Day 2014

I have been following the ongoing debate between the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberian government over the licensing of journalists in the country and I am obliged to share my thoughts with the hope of putting some issues into context and to “cool the temper.” Honestly I thought we could spare ourselves of all these ‘distractions’ to apply our combined energies and resources to the national Ebola fight and stop opening new frontiers because we are doing more harm than good to our country. So let me therefore beg the government to please keep this fight for another day if it feels strong about pursuing it. While advising however, I should give a hint of what to expect if and when the regime decides to proceed.

The Call for Journalists to lineup for Licensing

Could this be another panic decision or an act of desperation? On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, a release from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) quoted Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson as saying that journalists must seek annual permits from the Information Ministry, in accordance with Chapter 31.8 of the New Executive Law.         The PUL rightfully challenged the decision and called on journalists not to cooperate.

Throughout my practice as a journalist dating back to 1996, and my stewardship on the leadership of the Press Union, I was never confronted with this subject of licensing or registering journalists as it were. It is safe to suggest that previous regimes either knew it was a controversial issue or a potential minefield and did not venture in that terrain. Those regimes included the noted dictators of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Continue reading