The Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has re-branded the judicial branch of Government under the George Weah administration as a place of harassment, clampdown, depression, coercion and a center of strong intimidation towards the Liberian media.
As far as Mr. Octavin T. Williams is concerned, this form of intimidation that continued from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration unto President Weah era by the Judiciary has created trauma to the media, thus leading to self-censorship and content restrictions.
Mr. Williams indicated that the new trademark of the Judiciary under the Weah administration stems from the reemergence of arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists by past regimes.
According to him, for the past 12 years, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, journalists faced arrests and pre-trial detentions as a result of summons based on empty accounts by the court.
The PUL Vice President went on to express grave concern over the recent US$20 million lawsuit filed against him and the Nation Times newspaper by United Commodity Incorporated (UCI) although he (Williams) and the Nation Times have not written are on record any story relating to the UCI.
Mr. Williams declared that the paper only published a story concerning Anwar Ezzedine, who is CEO of UCI but was associated with the United Logging Company, which was indicted by the U.N Security Council committee established pursuant to Resolution 1343 in its 2001 report on Liberia.
He is therefore requesting the commercial court to recuse itself from a civil case it got no jurisdiction over per the statues that created the court so as to allow the law takes its course to erase any form of trauma that he could experience as a result of the case.
Mr. Williams further said the continuous willful violations of the Judicial Cannon by Cllr. James Kumeh is aimed at satisfying himself alongside Anwar Ezzidine’s selfish interests and that of assumed members of the commercial court.
The PUL VP elaborated that Cllr. Kumeh together with some judges of the commercial court has been in the business of executing wrongful lawsuits against him under the canopy of “Libel with Attachment” in a commercial court.
The Press Union Vice President believes the action of the commercial court in a wrongful lawsuit against him will again put the Liberian Judiciary on the line of hard code self-censorship and trauma geared towards a clampdown on critical voices and reportage.
Mr. Williams added that the well-placed and circulated strategies of Censorship Content Restrictions and Intimation including right abuses at journalists by some members of the Judiciary is currently working as a trauma being inflicted on the Liberian media. Therefore, he is calling on the full bench of the Supreme Court to take serious interest in the matter so as to put to a perpetual end such ugly practice.