Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to George Weah, President of Liberia has expressed concern over the arrest of sports editor of the Inquirer newspaper, Cassell Webster on June 10.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter has condemned the manhandling of journalists by law enforcement agencies and football association and call on the authorities to stop targeting journalists for doing their job.
According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), armed police officers manhandled and detained Webster without any arrest warrant following a defamation complaint registered by Wilmot Smith, Vice President of the Liberia Football Association (LFA).
The officers arrested the journalist without arrest warrant at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia and forced him to follow them to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police for interrogating about his recent article
The allegation relates to a story published on June 10, 2019, in which Webster stated that the LFA Vice President had assaulted a Liberian referee.
The officers also seized the phone of another journalist, Michael Solomon and deleted the pictures he had taken of the argument between them and Webster.
LFA Vice President, Smith also accused Solomon of wrongfully discussing him on a live sports programme.
Solomon stated, “As the officers in arms arrived, Mr. Smith approached me in anger, threatening that he will deal with me for discussing him on radio without contacting him. I insisted that everything I said about him was factual.”
The issue was later resolved following the intervention of the legal representative of the Liberia Football Association Cllr. Joseph Kollie, who held a side discussion with the police officers.