If Isaac Jackson at the Ministry of Information or any other official of the Ministry thinks he can overcome pervasive idleness and find clear assignment out of the jumbling staff configuration at the Ministry; we will not give it on silver platter. We know the crowd of deputy ministers, assistant ministers, directors and others hardly have anything substantive doing on the daily basis nowadays since the electoral period ended. The end of this period has, unfortunately for these officials, made controversial debates scarce, thus putting them out of their chief assignments of ranting, cursing, and vituperating opponents. Now, some are choosing to maintain their relevance and justify their paychecks not by being proactive and keeping a lookout for the government, but by being reactionary and unnecessarily swooping down on the media – the traditional whipping boy in Liberian politics and armchair officialdom.
In the last two days, Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Atty Isaac W. Jackson, Jr., in particular, has found assignment in The Analyst publication of a press statement released by the former Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Jerome Verdier. Verdier, amongst other things, charged that corruption and impunity are rampant in Liberia. The Government gave an earlier reaction but The Analyst's latter publication did not bring the Verdier statement concomitant with the Government's riposte. The Analyst recognized the right of the government to react, and therefore encouraged spokespersons, including Jackson, to make use of the pages it unreservedly made available for the purpose. Having agreed initially, the former virulent critic of government turned sworn regime propagandists, furtively and sinisterly abandoned The Analyst's overture and issued what we consider complaint-press release raising ethic questions and assigning motives to the newspaper.
Jackson and his MICAT colleagues know full well that The Analyst does not have hidden objectives or an unprofessional coloration. If we did, we wouldn't have been same ones encouraging MICAT to do a reaction promising to give government's response equal prominence. If we had any reason to be mischievous, as Jackson has be charging, we would have fragrantly downplayed or resisted government response. MICAT, and perhaps Jackson, knows that there are several instances where some national and international media published news stories and even investigative reports on government and other newsmakers in Liberia not only without they lifting government sides but also without accepting to do so subsequently. If motive-driven, The Analyst could follow such examples, which are commonplace in this country. But The Analyst did not in the MICAT-Verdier situation. And Jackson cannot deny that The Analyst tried to persuade him to send his reaction. So how does motive play out in this? What is the best practice and professionalism ignored by The Analyst so much that politically converted Isaac [Saul-Paul] Jackson continues to cry wolf? Is it not part of Jackson's best practice for a news organ to encourage a left-out voice to be heard? So how does he pray for the PUL or public to prosecute his culprit, The Analyst?
Our reading,therefore is that not that Isaac Jackson does not know The Analyst means well or that the newspaper is an esteemed professional news organ, but he has found a moment to show his bosses he's working hard. He has ignored his primary duty to respond to Verdier and ignored an offer for an official rebuttal on the Verdier statement in The Analyst. Now, he has got to rant and show verbal belligerence because that is how MICAT-appointed officials are schooled and programmed to behave to please their bosses and to get graded as working well.
Whilw we are poised to remain proportionately, possibly disproportionately, responsive to Jackson and others' undue aggression against us, we will not let the distraction sway us from our goal of promoting peaceful dialogue and contributing to building a just and democratic Liberian society. Even when Jackson and his media colleagues set aside their curse-to-be-justified tendency and come out with their reaction to Verdier's statement, our pages are in wait.