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Monrovia mayor threatens CEMESP with libel suit

(CEMESP/IFEX) - March 18, 2011 - The Acting Mayor of Monrovia, Mary Broh, has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP). CEMESP, the lead freedom of expression advocacy group in Liberia, has for the past five years been engaged in reporting and documenting attacks on freedom of expression in the country.

The threat followed the release of CEMESP's annual report entitled, "Strengthening Freedom to Further Democracy in Liberia: Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Liberia 2010". The report singled out Acting Mayor Broh as the only high Government official that unleashed two attacks on press freedom in 2010.

On March 14, 2011, the Liberian Women Democracy Radio quoted the Acting Mayor as saying that she will file a libel lawsuit against CEMESP for mentioning her name in the report.

CEMESP's report noted that on April 15, 2010 Acting Mayor Broh ordered her bodyguards to arrest and jail Love FM reporter Nimpson Todd. The report also stated that it had been the second time in less than two weeks that Broh had publicly disgraced Todd while in the discharge of his reportorial duty.

Meanwhile, CEMESP Executive Director Malcolm Joseph has welcomed the threat of a lawsuit against his organization. Mr. Joseph says he is not disturbed by the threat, saying this is simply a calculated ploy by Madam Broh to intimidate members of his staff, thereby subjecting them to submission.

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