Liberia: Publisher Suspects Sabotage of His Newspaper
MONROVIA – At least five staff of The INQUIRER Newspaper, one of Liberia’s most popular Newspapers, have resigned in a bid to form The INDEPENDENT INQUIRER which is reportedly government backed.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The move, according to what FrontPageAfrica has gathered from an impeccable source, is part of a plan for the setting up of alternative media with similar names to existing media houses deemed critical of the government.
The plan was reportedly orchestrated in Accra, Ghana in the home of George Weah’s key economic advisor, Mr. Emmanuel Shaw. The meeting was led by Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel Tweah shortly after FPA broke the story of his first-class trip to Beijing, China.
Since its inception, the Weah-led government had had a sour relationship with the Liberian media. President Weah is on record for calling media institutions, journalists and other individuals who are critical of the government “enemies of the state”.
He is at the time credited for submitting to the Legislature a bill seeking to decriminalize speech.
A fortnight ago, the Minister of Information, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, was suspended by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for referring to the union on radio as a “useless entity which does not know its functions”.
His description of the PUL came in is reaction to a press statement issued by the PUL on the continuous intimidation of the media by the government. Mr. Nagbe, however, apologized to his action and his suspension was lifted.
Speaking to the FrontPageAfrica, the publisher of The INQUIRER Newspaper, Mr. Philip Wesseh said he sees the move as a sabotage to his newspaper.
“It is shocking that five persons would leave at the same time. This is a sabotage. It’s a sabotage to my newspaper, but I remain determined,” he said.
He is suspicious that an individual in government (name not provided) is behind the mass resignation. According to Mr. Wesseh, he is not worried by the new newspaper having a name similar to his.
“They want to ride on the credibility of The INQUIRER Newspaper. It’s the oldest post war newspaper in the country and our credibility speak for itself, that’s what they want to ride on,” he added.