- The media rights organisation, Media Foundation for West Africa, has condemned the detention of a publisher and a printer following a newspaper report alleging that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's government supplied arms to dissident forces in neighbouring Guinea.
The two, Syrenius Cephus, the Publisher of the privately-owned Monrovia-based Plain Truth newspaper and Michael Makinde, the Managing Director of Semarco Printing Press were arrested earlier this week.
According to MFWA, the two have been detained in connection with an article that allegedly linked President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson to arms deal with persons the newspaper described as Guinean dissidents.
In its 9 December edition, the newspaper reported that Guinean authorities were angry with President Sirleaf-Johnson, who they accused of supplying arms to the dissidents.
However, Liberia's Minister of Justice, Christina Tah, defending the alleged harassment and illegal detention of the two, was quoted as saying the two were needed to assist in investigations.
Reporters Without Borders said if the government detest the contents of the publication, and could be regarded as baseless and defamatory, it should be able to demonstrate that without having to arrest those responsible.
The presidency has however dismissed the allegations that President Sirleaf was seeking to overthrow the one-year-old Guinea junta government, accusing the publication of failing to take into account the fragility of the situation in Guinea.
Guinea’s military junta chief, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who is currently receiving treatment in Morocco, was shot by one of his top aides on 3 December during a shoot out. The government has claimed that it was an assassination bid, which was also meant to overthrow the military government.
Thousands of Liberians fled to neighbouring Guinea during the 14 years of civil war from 1989-2003 and the countries have close ties.
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