The Liberian Media Is Under Perils
The muzzling of the media continues under the George Weah led Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government, despite several attempts to educated public officials, state securities and ordinary Liberians about the role of the media and the level of freedom they have in society but sadly, such efforts continues to fall back .
Recently, Award winning Liberian journalist Zeze Evans Ballah, was seeing in a live video flogged by a Police officer when the journalist attempted photographing peaceful protesters who were being whisked by some Police officers.
The protesters were demanding the release of their family members who were hired by the owner of a local funeral home in Monrovia and went missing.
The situation caught the attention of some media and knowing their role in society, journalists went to report the situation as it unfolded but unfortunately, they were flogged as usual.
Also, Journalist Gloria Tamba of Spoon FM/TV has reportedly received death threats and the Press Union of Liberia has alarmed over this following a communication from her station manager complaining two men.
They said the individuals separately verbally warned Journalist Gloria Tamba to abandon her continued reports of the ongoing missing boys story at the St. Moses Funeral home or regret her action.
Journalist Gloria Tamba of Spoon FM has been warned by neighbors not to go at her home and for weeks now she’s been away from her peaceful home.
Let me repeat again, the role of the media is to report the stories as it unfolds but regrettably, the media in Liberia continues to be MUZZLE and at some point in time BOUGHT to speak in favor of the ruling establishment.
If they refuse to dance dubiously to the tone of the CDC government, they turn out to be a target or become a constant battleground.
Indeed, Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely.
It is an open secret that some higher ups in the CDC government in Liberia a country considered “Free Land of Liberty” is the opposite because, some members of the ruling establishment are threatening media entities and reporters who spill out the true about unfolding issues or give their honest opinion on reality in the country .
Even private citizens too are feeling the pinch and constantly experience discrimination when they voice out their views on social media platforms. Insults, threats, neglects are the rewards they get for speaking their free mind in Liberia.
Oh!! I’m reminded on the story, the king who had on his birthday suit and no one could tell him that. We need really people close to power to speak the true without fear of their jobs or lives.
Honestly, the bad happenings in the country has overshadow all the good things the George Weah and Jewel Howard CDC led government are doing.
The Editor, if democratic must work and function smoothly, the media must be given a smooth change to carry out its duties with out fear of losing contracts from the government of losing their jobs and lives at large.
President George Weah and his surrogates attacks the credibility of the media daily, labeling them as opposition instead of just a news person . Taking into some definition of News, it is what people don’t want you publish, anything they want you publish is Public relations.
The threat media practitioners are receiving is alarming under the CDC government and sadly, most of those media practitioners who now served in government were also experiencing the same situation under past governments.
Each day I pounder over these questions: What is the role of the news media in our society today? What rights and legal protections guard the news media against encroachment by government? To whom do protections for news media apply in an era in which the Internet and social media platforms make everyone a potential publisher? What becomes of the table mounting deceleration? Do journalists have job security? What level of protection they have from media entity?
Let’s get this right, News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to their job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.
The Editor, in closing, I must commend your entity and reporters across Liberia who are risking their lives to dig out happenings in Liberia.
They are sacrificing friendship, relationship just to get this job done . Freedom of the press is crucial to all functional democracy.