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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JANUARY 16, 2004
Posted: February 4, 2004

Philip Moore Jr., Telegraph
Adolphus Karnuah, Telegraph
Robert Kpadeh Jr., Telegraph
Rennie Moses, Telegraph
Rudolph Gborkeh, Telegraph

Editor-in-Chief Moore, Managing Editor Karnuah, and Subeditor Kpadeh, all of the private weekly newspaper Telegraph, were arrested and brought to the Magistrate Court in the capital, Monrovia, where they were charged with "criminal malevolence."

Additionally, Rennie Moses, a former business manager for the Telegraph, and Rudolph Gborkeh, the newspaper’s chief reporter, were charged in absentia. Moore, Karnuah, and Kpadeh were released the same day, and later paid the equivalent of about US$5 each in bail.

The charges stem from a story published in the Telegraph on December 30, 2003, which alleged that National Security Minister Losay Kendor embezzled US$15,000. According to journalists at the newspaper, the article relied on sources from within the National Security Ministry. Kendor joined Liberia’s newly inaugurated transitional government after an August 2003, power-sharing deal aimed at ending more than a decade of civil war. He has not yet been confirmed by Liberia’s legislature, the journalists said.

The case against the journalists is currently pending in Monrovia’s Magistrate Court. Jerome Verdier, the journalists’ defense lawyer, told CPJ that the charge of "criminal malevolence," which falls under Liberia’s criminal code, has never been used on a Liberian journalist before. The crime carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, Verdier said.

FEBRUARY 9, 2004

Posted: March 4, 2004

Mike Jabeteh, The Analyst

A member of the former rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) assaulted Jabeteh, a reporter for the private daily Analyst newspaper, which is based in the capital, Monrovia.

The assault took place in the town of Tubmanburg, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Monrovia, where Jabeteh had gone to cover the ongoing voluntary LURD disarmament. The disarmament is being overseen by LURD's civilian leader, Sekou Damate Conneh. According to local sources, a LURD member known as "Number Seven" approached Jabeteh, who was standing with a group of other journalists, and accused him of "reporting bad things about the chairman [Conneh]." Jabeteh frequently reports on LURD activities and is well known to local LURD members, according to Stanley Seakor, managing editor of The Analyst.

Seakor told CPJ that the accusation probably stemmed from an article published in The Analyst in December, 2003, which reported that Conneh had been detained in Conakry, capital of neighboring Guinea.

Number Seven then physically assaulted Jabeteh, beating him until his ears bled. Jabeteh later received medical care in Monrovia, Seakor said.