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Liberian newspaper publisher harassed over article alleging misallocation of Ebola response funds

A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia, 17 August 2014
A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia, 17 August 2014

REUTERS/2Tango

Helen G. Nah, publisher of Women Voices newspaper has been harassed and intimidated by police investigators assigned by the Liberia National Police (LNP) for a story the newspaper published in its Friday, 29 August 2014 edition.

The story was carried under the headline: "Police Accuse of Ebola Money Corruption: Junior Officers Crying Foul of Unfair Distribution of Operation Money…”

It stated that money allocated from the Ebola Response Fund was allocated to some senior Liberia National Police officials for operational purposes, but got misappropriated along the line.

In a statement issued, the Board of Directors of Women Voices newspaper said it cannot fathom why the LNP would resort to harassment of a media house over story that was balanced in giving voice to all parties concerned.

Women Voices said it contacted Mr. Sam Collins, a police spokesperson, to speak on the matter before going to press. The President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Abdullai Kamara has said that they stand by Madam Nah in connection with a fair reportage.

“There has been no formal complaint from the LNP to the PUL in connection with this story, and this should be criminal offence to warrant harassment of our journalists…” The board of Women Voices newspaper says they view the action by the LNP as undermining the current effort by media houses to contribute to the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

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