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Mayor attempts to have reporter arrested

(CEMESP/IFEX) - On 15 April 2010, Acting Monrovia Mayor Mary Broh ordered her bodyguards to re-arrest and jail Love FM reporter Nimpson Todd. This is the second time in less than two weeks that Broh has publicly disgraced Todd while in the discharge of his reportorial duty.

On 3 April, Broh ordered her assigned Liberia National Police officers to flog and drag Todd after the journalist attempted to make an inquiry concerning the clean-up of Monrovia. Todd was grabbed, dragged, flogged, handcuffed and thrown in the back of a pick-up truck and later jailed for a few hours.

On 15 April, the acting city mayor again became uneasy upon the arrival of Todd to cover an event at the Monrovia City Hall. It was at this point, Todd told CEMESP, that Broh ordered her bodyguards to re-arrest him for what she claimed were lies about her.

The Health and Social Welfare minister, Dr. Walter Gweenigale, who tried to intervene in the standoff between Broh and Todd, was snubbed and pushed by the angry mayor who was heard using profane language.

Todd said that the presence of a score of journalists at the city hall intimidated the mayor's bodyguards and prevented them from executing the arrest order. The reporter told CEMESP that in the presence of his colleagues Broh threatened to "deal with him".

CEMESP categorically condemns the recent wave of attacks that have been unleashed by Broh against the reporter and press freedom in Liberia.

Following a meeting with Todd on 19 April, CEMESP Executive Director Malcolm Joseph described the mayor's behavior toward journalists as troubling. Joseph said her actions were a calculated attempt to clamp down on press freedom and frighten young reporters in Liberia into submission. He then called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to ensure that Broh discontinues her harassment and attacks on journalists in Liberia.

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