VOSIEDA And Partners (Government of Liberia, Media Defence International, Press Union of Liberia, and Liberty Law Firm) Launched Liberia’s First Media Defense Center

The Press Union of Liberia quarterly report (April- June 2020) states that Liberian journalists continue to face harassment, attacks, assaults, and threats of lawsuits while carrying out their reportorial duties. Another PUL report covering September – December 2021 states that though attacks on journalists are reducing, they must stop.

With brutal acts from officials of government, political parties and actors, security personnel, community members, businesses, and people in society towards journalists, Volunteers for Sustainable Development in Africa, in partnership with the Press Union of Liberia, Liberty Law Firm, and UK-based Media Defence International have officially launched the project “Strengthening National Capacity to Defend Independent Media in Liberia”.

The one-year project has facilitated the establishment of the Liberia Media Defense Center at the headquarters of the Press Union and retained lawyers from the Liberty Law Firm for 12 months. The lawyer will research, provide legal training and advice, and offer journalists free, high-quality legal support. They will undertake at least twenty cases for the first year to protect Liberian independent media outlets, journalists, and bloggers who lack the financial means to access legal support at commercial rates.

Honorable Charles Coffey, President of the Press Union of Liberia, and Honorable Ledgerhood Julius Rennie, Minister of Information, Culture, Affairs, and Tourism (MICAT), Republic of Liberia, officially launched the project and the Media Defense Center. Mr. Adama Kiatamba Dempster, Founding National Director of the Independent Human Rights Investigators in Liberia, served as the Keynote speaker.

The project is co-funded by Media Defence as part of an initiative to help build a strong global legal defence network for independent media under its Digital Rights Advocates Project.

 As the Internet has become an integral part of people’s lives and journalism has moved increasingly online, there has been a rising demand for legal support amongst bloggers and independent media outlets who have been targeted as a result of or in connection with their journalistic activities online. The VOSIEDA and partners have set up a media defence center to protect journalists across Liberia in cases related to digital rights.

Do you need additional information? Please meet

Ms. Amanda Yarsiah
Programme Development Officer

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