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.

He made the observation Monday at programs marking the celebration of “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists” held at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building on Broad Street in Monrovia.

Siedi said restriction of free expression leads to self-censorship among journalists and also deprives society of the right to contribute to issues affecting the nation.

The program, which was held under the theme: ‘Breaking the culture of impunity: Creating a safe climate for Journalists in Liberia”, was organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) with support from UNESCO.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists was declared by the UN General Assembly at its 68th Session in December last year to urge UN member states to implement definite measures that will counter the present culture of impunity against journalists.

Over the past decade, more than 700 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and providing needed information to the public.


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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