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Journalists barred from covering Tony Blair's meeting with vice president

(CEMESP/IFEX) - On 22 February 2010, reporters covering the National Legislature of Liberia were barred from providing coverage of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's open meeting with Liberia's Vice President Joseph Boakai.

The reporters were denied access to the meeting by security guards assigned to the vice president, even though they were in possession of the official press access pass for journalists issued by the Office of the Vice President.

According to the Legislative reporters, the resistance and aggressive posture of the vice president's bodyguards toward them is reminiscent of the past regimes of Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe.

In a radio interview, CEMESP Executive Director Malcolm Joseph condemned the action of the vice president's bodyguards.

Joseph wondered why in this age and time in the history of Liberia, people will venture into actions that undermine press freedom and freedom of expression.

He then called on the Office of Vice President Boakai to launch a probe into the matter and ensure that those responsible for the action against the journalists are brought to book.

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