Monrovia – The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) says it is not part and does not support the printing of new passes by Deputy Information Minister for public affairs, Eugene Fahngon.
In a press statement released on Wednesday, 29 April, the PUL urged journalists and Media workers across the country to go about their journalistic work with proper identification cards as required by the joint security.
The PUL in a release expressed disapproval to the new directive of Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon calling for the cancellation of current press passes and the printing of new passes insolation with the PUL.
The Union believes that Deputy Minister Fahngon unilateral action perhaps is intended to selectively provide accreditation to certain Media outlets and deny other Media institutions.
Press Union of Liberia President Charles B Coffey Jr. has termed as unrealistic ,and a calculated attempt by Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon to ignore the good work of the Media in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic across the country from the unset with out passes.
Mr Coffey indicated that journalists have been trained to disseminate factual information about the virus thus taking some members of the public from the denial stage to the realities of the pandemic.
He said the Media continued to play a pivotal role in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic despite the economic hardship being experienced by the media practitioners.
According to him, journalists don’t need new passes to inform and educate the public about the Coronavirus pandemic and urged the Information Ministry to redirect the money for the printing of new passes to Strengthening the capacity of the Media.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia wants stronger solidarity between and among journalists and Media institutions in the difficult times of the nation’s history.
The comments about printing new press pass come the same day Liberia’s solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas threatened to seize the equipment, shutdown and prosecute media institutions who may publish or air what he referred to as ‘fake news’ this state of emergency which was declared to help curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
According to him, under that same Article 87, subsection ‘b’ of the Constitution, the declaration of State of Emergency that curtails freedom of assembly might also affect free speech.
“This government has been quite tolerant in allowing people to clearly and distinctly express their views,” he said.