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Two journalists arrested on mayor's orders

(CEMESP/IFEX) - March 29, 2012 - Two journalists, reporter Charles Yates of the Inquirer newspaper and Francis Nah of the US-based Liberia, have been the victims of Police acting on instructions of Monrovia Acting City Mayor Mary Broh.

The City Mayor is said to have ordered her personal Police escorts to arrest the two journalists, who were loaded in a pick up van on March 25, 2012.

According to journalist Charles Yates, the City Mayor accused him of interfering with her work during a cleaning exercise. Mary Broh is said to have ordered that no commercial motorbikes use the route she was inspecting; something that got the journalist interested, that he sought to cross check.

“I told the City Mayor that she is not above the law by diverting traffic. She got infuriated by the comment and ordered my arrest,” a weeping Yates was quoted in the March 26 edition of Media Watch.

Charles Yates claimed that he was manhandled by the Police as they threw him in a pick up van.

Whilst trying to intervene on behalf of his arrested colleague, journalist Francis Nah was also arrested.

It took the intervention of the Police boss, Chris Massaquoi, who accosted his officers to ensure the release of the journalists.

Mary Broh is quoted as saying that because the journalists used their connection with the Police boss to ensure that her assigned Police officers were reprimanded, “That boy who calls himself a journalist will walk the streets of Monrovia crazy. . .”

Mary Broh is believed to have travelled out of the country and reportedly vowed to institute legal action against the journalists on her return.

The Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) is monitoring the situation for possible legal defense support to the threatened journalists, should the matter come up in court.

Meanwhile, CEMESP Executive Director, Malcolm Joseph, notes with dismay that the Acting City Mayor, Mary Broh, who had in the recent past earned the unenviable reputation of most media hostile personality, still continues to be in the news for the wrong reasons.

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