A court in the capital Monrovia on November 18, 2013, officially ordered the release from prison of FrontPageAfrica publisher Rodney Sieh and the reopening of the offices of the private daily newspaper, according to news reports. The newspaper will resume its daily publication on November 25, 2013, Sieh told CPJ.
New York, October 8, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Monday's decision by Liberia's Ministry of Justice to grant Rodney Sieh--the publisher of FrontPageAfrica who has been jailed since August for not paying libel damages--"compassionate release" for 30 days. The conditions behind Sieh's release were not clear, but the journalist's health had deteriorated in prison. It is also unclear what will happen to Sieh after 30 days.
Dear President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: We call on you to decriminalize defamation; adopt monetary damages for libel commensurate with the harm done and within limits Liberians can afford; and halt the incarceration of defendants unable to pay, which is highly unusual in civil cases. We urge you to facilitate the release of jailed journalist Rodney Sieh and the reopening of his newspaper, FrontPageAfrica.
New York, August 28, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today's hospitalization of leading Liberian independent journalist Rodney Sieh, who has been on hunger strike since his imprisonment on August 21.
By Danny O’Brien and Madeline Earp
As the founding editor, in 2005, of the Liberian online investigative news site FrontPage Africa, Rodney Sieh has fought off lawsuits, imprisonment, and death threats. In the face of such pressures, he has still managed to expand the website into one of Liberia’s best-selling daily newspapers, making him a leading figure in both new and traditional news media in the country. It’s not surprising then, that he was one of 17 prominent African journalists and publishers invited by the Chinese government to a three-week “News and Publishing Seminar in Developing Countries” last August in Beijing.
A private university in Liberia has suspended a journalist studying there for publishing a newspaper story critical of the institution's management.
On May 8, private Cuttington University in Suacoco in central Liberia suspended Selma Lomax, a reporter with independent newspaper FrontPage Africa and a third-year student in agriculture at the institution, for four months over an April 26 story analyzing the financial struggles of the university. FrontPage Africa had previously reported on constraints plaguing the university since its founder and leading donor, the Episcopal Church of the United States, withdrew a major portion of funding. Based on interviews with university employees, Lomax's story discussed controversy over university President Henrique Tokpa, who has been accused of mismanagement and nepotism.
Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation, which made her the target of threats and ignited international controversy, has forced her government to finally take a public position on the dangerous ritual. For the first time, Liberian officials have declared they want to stop female genital mutilation, a traditional practice passed down for generations. Involving the total or partial removal of the clitoris, the ritual is practiced by the Sande secret women's society. As many as two out of every three Liberian girls in ten out of Liberia's 16 tribes are subjected to the practice, according to news accounts.
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