Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

11 results arranged by date

Economists and political scientists acknowledge that journalism is vital to development and democracy. By Robert Mahoney

Pakistani investigative journalist Umar Cheema has exposed corruption in Parliament. (AFP/Aamir Qu)

Surveillance, restrictive Internet legislation, and cyberattacks compel CPJ to add cyberspace to the list of places trending in the wrong direction. By Maya Taal

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood try to push a journalist, center, away from the police academy where ousted President Mohamed Morsi was on trial on the outskirts of Cairo, November 4, 2013. Perhaps nowhere did press freedom decline more dramatically in 2013 than in polarized Egypt. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

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.

Liberian newspapers protest threatening remarks by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's security chief. (Wade Williams/FrontPage Africa)

Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at a public event to mark the occasion, according to news reports and local media groups.

The story that ignited controversy, generated threats, and forced a government to take a stand.

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. 

March 13, 2012

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of the Republic of Liberia
Executive Mansion
P.O. Box 9001
Capitol Hill, Monrovia
Republic of Liberia

Dear President Johnson Sirleaf:

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by threats made against Liberian journalist Mae Azango, who has been in hiding since last week after she reported on the practice of female genital mutilation. We urge you, Madam President, as Africa's first and only female head of state and a champion of women's rights, to direct the Liberian authorities to ensure her safety and fully investigate the threats made against her.

Azango, a reporter for the daily FrontPage Africa and New Narratives, a project supporting independent media in Africa, published an article on March 8 entitled "Growing Pains: Sande Tradition of Genital Cutting Threatens Liberian Women's Health." The article described how tribes practice female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country. Although March 8 was International Women's Day, the publication of the article was followed by death threats against Azango. "They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up," she told CPJ. "I have not been sleeping in my house."

National Police Deputy Director Al Karley told CPJ today that he had made Azango's case a high priority. However, we believe your political leadership is required to ensure the government will take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of this journalist.

We ask you, Madam President, to use the moral authority of your office to speak out against the threats made against Azango, and to ensure that other journalists taking on this sensitive topic do not suffer the same fate.

We look forward to your response.

Joel Simon
Executive Director

Liberian police face opposition CDC supporters in the run-up to presidential elections. Three broadcasters have been shut down by the government for covering the CDC party's campaign. (AFP)

New York, November 8, 2011--The administration of incumbent Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf silenced on Monday three Liberian broadcasters that have covered the campaigning of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party in the run-up to today's runoff presidential vote, according to news reports.

Inside Love FM, after Monday's bomb attack. (Press Union of Liberia)

New York, October 18, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday's arson attack against a Liberian radio station and threats made against another radio station's journalists in response to their coverage of Liberia's presidential elections.

As protests mounted, Sirleaf's government secured the release of jailed editor Rodney Sieh. (Aaron Leaf)

On Monday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will contest for a second term in elections next November, used her annual speech to the legislature to strengthen her image as the candidate of stability and growth. Among other things, she boasted about winning the "Friend of the Media" award from the African Editors Forum, the first for a sitting president. But there was something else: "We are glad," she said, "that the saga over the weekend has been resolved, allowing us to continue the distinction of having no journalists or politicians in jail."

11 results

1 2 Next Page »