Abuja, July 11, 2022 – Liberian authorities should investigate and hold to account the two police officers responsible for threatening journalists Emmanuel Kollie and Amos P. Korzawu and assaulting Kollie, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
On the evening of June 29, two police officers in Foya district, in northern Lofa county, threatened to shoot Kollie, a reporter with state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System, and Korzawu, a reporter and video editor for the privately owned Fortune TV Liberia online broadcaster and news website, according to the journalists, who spoke to CPJ by phone, and a statement by the local Press Union of Liberia.
Police stopped the journalists, who were reporting on the results of June 28 senatorial elections, while Kollie and Korzawu were on their way to cover a confrontation between supporters of the rival Unity Party and Coalition for Democratic Change political parties, they said.
The officers demanded to know where the journalists were going, and then pulled out their guns and threatened to shoot them if they did not return to their hotel, Kollie and Korzawu told CPJ. One officer then slapped Kollie in the face so hard that the journalist lost his balance, and punched him twice in the neck, according to those sources.
“Authorities in Liberia must investigate police officers’ threatening of journalists Emmanuel Kollie and Amas P. Korzawu and their assault of Kollie, identify those responsible, and hold them accountable,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in Durban, South Africa. “Liberian security forces are too often involved in attacks on members of the press, and the lack of accountability is alarming.”
The journalists returned to their hotel after the incident, saying they feared for their lives. Kollie and Korzawu told CPJ they decided not to file a police complaint because they did not know the officers’ names, as they were wearing jackets that covered their name tags.
Kollie told CPJ on July 6 that he was taking pain medication for his neck.
CPJ’s call and text messes to Liberia police spokesperson Moses Carter went unanswered.