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LEWIS BROWN II, Minister of Information, Monrovia, Liberia - Sept. 8, 2013
In “Jailed for Journalism” Rodney Sieh attempts to paint a gloomy picture of free speech and the practice of journalism in Liberia.
In Liberia’s 10 years of peace, our media landscape has blossomed: new radio stations, Web sites and newspapers open all the time, including Mr. Sieh’s paper.
We believe in free speech. We were the second African country to sign the Table Mountain Declaration, which protects the right of journalists to do their work.
But the libel case against his newspaper and himself that Mr. Sieh writes about is not about the government. It is a civil case between individuals.
Our courts may not be perfect. But nobody in Liberia can tell a court how to rule. Like the United States government, we have a strict separation of powers doctrine.
Like many Liberians, our president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has fought and suffered for free speech. That achievement is precious to us. We will not sacrifice it for anything.
LEWIS BROWN II
Minister of Information
Monrovia, Liberia, Sept. 8, 2013