June 14, 2019

Liberian reporter arrested at football official’s behest

A Liberian journalist was arrested just for reporting that a Liberia Football Association official had attacked a referee. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this flagrant violation of the country’s new law on press freedom.

Police went to a stadium on 10 June to arrest D. Webster Cassell, a sports reporter for The Inquirer newspaper, in response to a complaint by LFA vice-president Wilmot Smith.


RSF has learned that Smith’s complaint was prompted by an article by Cassell accusing him of attacking a referee.


“This arrest violates the law on press freedom signed by Liberia’s president in February, which decriminalizes press offences,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office.


Cassell was released thanks to the intervention of the local football league’s lawyer.


Liberia is ranked 89th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.