CPJ holds Liberia responsible for Rodney Sieh’s well-being

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.

Sieh, the publisher of FrontPageAfrica, was taken to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Hospital Wednesday morning after vomiting and fainting in his cell at the central prison in the capital Monrovia, according to local journalists. Sieh was imprisoned and his newspaper closed down last week pending the payment of US$1.5 million in libel damages. The lawsuit relates to a FrontPageAfrica story on the findings of a government investigation that accused a former official of corruption.

“We are troubled that Rodney Sieh’s health has deteriorated during his imprisonment and we hold the government of Liberia responsible for his well-being,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “The excessive libel damages imposed on Sieh for reporting the findings of a government inquiry on corruption, his jailing, and the closure of an important independent newspaper are a blow to press freedom and the fight against corruption in Liberia.”