LONDON – The editor of FrontPageAfrica, Rodney D. Sieh debuts his much-anticipated memoir, Journalist on Trial – Fighting Corruption, Media Muzzling and a 5,000-Year Prison Sentence in Liberia, this week in London with a series of speaking and signing events.
The launch kicks off in London Saturday, October 20, with speaking and signing events at a number of universities including the University of Kent, October 22nd, Chatham House November 2nd and climaxing at the University of Sheffield on November 5th before heading to the US for a series of events there.
Journalist on Trial from Manor House Publishing in Canada is the riveting story of the editor’s life as an African journalist determined to uphold the truth in the midst of a world plunging toward ruin at the hands of revolutionaries and murderers, crooked politicians and naïve health administrators.
He writes: “This is not just my story, but the story of many journalists today who find themselves straining to do their jobs in the face of the outrageous daily tweets of a sitting American President and a 24-hour news cycle that has been swamped with fake news and crushing propaganda.”
The author laments: “Some leaders of the so-called free world, even today, are doing all they can to intimidate and terrorize journalists into submission.”
Sentenced to 5000 years imprisonment for a trumped-up libel charge in 2013, Sieh’s arrest and jailing triggered an international outcry and highlighted the continuing existence of criminal libel statutes in Africa where politicians use the courts to intimidate and silence the media from exposing their corruption. Sieh’s work landed him among Reporters Without Borders’ Information Heroes of 2014.
Sieh fled the brutal civil war in his homeland in 1992 for exile in The Gambia. As a reporter there for both his uncle Kenneth Best’s Daily Observer newspaper and the British Broadcasting Corporation, his coverage about the deaths and disappearances that followed Yahya Jammeh’s coup d’état on July 22nd, 1994, forced him once again into exile to London, where he fled in 1994. He later took refuge in the United States. In exile he launched the ground-breaking FrontPageAfrica website and then returned to Liberia in 2007 to launch the paper edition.
He describes in horrific details the 5,000-year jail sentence he was handed just a few short years ago – for simply doing the work a journalist.
The author says the election of US President Donald Trump brought dictatorship to the doorstep of America and a front-door seat for western journalists to experience what media in developing countries go through. “In the past few months, journalists have been publicly ridiculed, quietly intimidated and often named and shamed by President Trump simply for doing their jobs. My book, Journalist on Trial, serves as a warning and a clarion call for anyone who believes that truth, justice and honest debate are key to the democratic underpinnings of any society. They are key to a world at peace.”
Praise for Journalist on Trial
Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, Journalists for Human Rights, Canada hails the book as “A powerful and important book from a powerful and vitally important voice. Here’s to more of this voice shaping the conversation about Liberia and Africa – for decades to come.”
Roy S. Gutterman, Associate Professor/Director, Tully Center for Free Speech writes: “Rodney Sieh not only tells his life story and principled stance as Liberia’s leading journalist, but in many ways he tells the story of Liberia’s modern struggles. His courage to report the truth, despite the risk to his freedom and his life shows his remarkable dedication to freedom of the press and to his homeland.”
Brooke Gladstone, Editor, WNYC Radio Program, On The Media writes: “A legend in Liberia, and a mystery to those closest to him, Rodney D. Sieh is the most committed journalist I’ve ever known. His stark account, without swagger or false humility, takes us from his youth in a blasted, brutalized Liberia straight through the horrors that forged him and out the other side. For Sieh, journalism is a creed, a faith that offers salvation to a world in urgent need of it, and his story shows the high price of living without compromise.”
Helene Cooper, Author, House on Sugar Beach writes: “This is a searing memoir, a must-read for anyone interested in the mass of contradictions that lives in almost everyone in today’s Liberia. If you are paying attention to Liberia and not paying attention to Rodney D. Sieh, then you are not really paying attention to Liberia.”
Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists says the book embodies Dooley’s adage that journalism is about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable… civil war, coups and corruption, you name it, Sieh has chronicled it. “Then in 2013, Sieh became front page news. This is his story: one of courage, principle and afflicting the powerful.”
SATURDAY, OCT. 20 – 4-7 PM
2 Foley Street, London, W1W 6DL, United Kingdom
MONDAY, OCT. 22, UNIVERSITY OF KENT
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND: CHATHAN HOUSE
10 St James’s Square, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4LE
Note: Call Chatham House for Tickets
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH: UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN
NOVEMBER 14: UNIVERSITY OF
NOVEMBER 15, EXCLUSIVE RSVP ENGAGEMENT
QUEENS, NEW YORK
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18: LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY CENTER
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SATURDAY, DEC. 1: VICTORY HARVEST FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL
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THURSDAY, DEC. 6: THE CENTER FOR
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December 20, 2018, Bella Cassa Hotel
2019: Dates in Atlanta, Minnesota, California, Canada, Geneva To Be Announced Soon