Thursday, December 20, 2007

Six journalists sued under Liberia’s ‘strict’ libel laws

Six Liberian journalists called for the investigation of Ambrose Nmah, general manager of a media group and radio personality, for comments he allegedly made during a program on Truth FM, “justifying attacks on some journalists for their breach of security protocol according to state authorities, during the visit to Liberia of Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma [last September],” the International Federation of Journalists said.

Nmah is using what the Freedom House calls “strict” Liberian libel laws to sue the journalists for publishing their investigation statement.

The plaintiff is claiming $10,000 in damages. He also named the Public Agenda newspaper for allegedly printing defamatory articles. A trial date was set for Monday, but was postponed. No new date has been set.

BBC Stringer Jonathan Paye-Layleh was brutally assaulted while covering President Koroma’s visit. “[Nmah said] on his show that I would have been responsible for my own death if I had been killed,” Paye-Layleh, who is not involved in the libel suit, said.

This is not the first libel suit Nmah has filed. In October, he filed suit against six other journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists feels that the plaintiff and defendants can mediate this conflict through the Press Union of Liberia and not through the country’s court system.

1 comment:

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