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Papie Shariff Kollie was brutalized by Police officers in February on the Bardnersville Kebbah sports pitch. His recorder and cash went missing in the process, while he incurred huge expenses to treat himself

 (Monrovia, May 29, 2014)- The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has expressed very serious concern and disapproval over the reported brutality meted out against journalist Franklin Doloque at Radio Gompa in Nimba County, describing the act as uncivilized, gross human right violation and threat to press freedom.

The state radio’s Nimba County Correspondent was reportedly flogged by men believed to be staffers in the Offices of Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson while he was performing his professional duty.

 His assailants disrupted normal broadcast activities at Radio Gompa and later manhandled him for taking photographs of their action, including holding staffs of the station hostage.

 The PUL has as of Tuesday written Senator Johnson and the Liberia National Police to immediately investigate the unwholesome and despicable attack on journalism and take pronounced punitive actions to prevent recurrence.

 The PUL said it has already contacted a team of lawyers to press for justice should Senator Johnson and the Police fail to appropriately intervene in the situation.

 “For too long we have only condemned attacks against journalists and have not gone beyond to press for further actions,” the PUL said in a statement issued in Monrovia on Thursday. “We will now begin to seek justice through legal means as journalists are not objects to be beaten upon by anyone; the PUL will highly resist these uncivilized and vicious acts in our new dispensation.”

 The PUL said if public officials and individuals do not want to be exposed by journalist for doing wrong, they should do the honorable thing by avoiding wrongdoings such as what journalist Doloque was covering at Radio Gompa when he was physically abused.

 Meanwhile, the PUL has written Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi to release report and recommendations into investigation over the bloody beating of journalist Papie Sheriff Kollie in February.

 Journalist Kollie of the Liberia Women Democracy Radio was brutally beaten in February of this year in Bardnersville Township on the alleged orders of a senior Police Support Unit (PSU) officer only identified as Prince (later identified as Christopher roberts).

 Following the incident, the PUL immediately formally complained to the LNP, requesting an investigation into the brutal act, and taking appropriate actions of deterrence.

 During the course of investigation by the Professional Standard Division (PSD), officials of the PUL subjected themselves to all processes and procedures of investigation—including spending days at the LNP Headquarters and producing witnesses.

 The investigation, headed by ACP Randolph Dennis, Chief of Public Complaints Cell, took an unprecedented longer time than required—lasting nearly two months.

 In a letter addressed to Mr. Massaquoi, the PUL stated that: “For over a month now, we are told that the investigation has since been completed and sent to your office along with recommendation for your action—including disclosure to the PUL. The PUL has neither received a copy of the investigation report nor has it been given any other status as should be.

“The PUL is disappointed that repeated efforts to hear from the Police, including your office, on this matter has not yielded fruits—except contradictions and unstructured feedbacks. Officials of the PUL including the President, Vice President and Secretary General have all called at, or gone to the Police, but to no avail.

 “The Union, therefore, sees this as a betrayal of the trust and confidence it reposed in the police in line with its professional duties of protecting citizens—protecting lives and properties. This kind of attitude further tends to dampen the smooth media-security relationship this administration of the PUL is seeking to build.

 “Mr. Inspector General, the PUL, with the uppermost scale of respect, requests that you release to it the findings and recommendations of the investigation into the merciless and brutal beating of journalist Papie Sheriff Kollie, which led to severe head wounds, and the lost of personal effects.”

 The PUL said it has already contacted its lawyer on the matter for appropriate action if nothing is done anytime soon.

 Signed: ____________________

D Kaihenneh Sengbeh/Secretary General/PUL/0886586531/0777586531

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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