6 May 2013

Liberia: President's Security Chief Threatens to Go After Journalists

On the day journalists thronged the port city of Buchanan for the occasion marking the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, an official of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's elite security unit pulled the sword at them, threatening a very serious battle should they engage in "wrong reportage."

Othello Warrick, Director of the metamorphosed Special Security Service (SSS) now Executive Protective Service (EPS) tried to prove his worth and entrenchment to the power of the day by insisting on taking action against journalists who in his words "will intrude the intelligence of the presidency."

Interpretation of his statement is only known to him, but journalists at the program hit back at him with booing.

He was given the podium to make remarks at the indoor program of the World Press Freedom Day celebration in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, his county of origin, as one of the high ranking officials of government in attendance.

That was a moment to make amends with the Liberian media considering that he is one of the officials in the government "that is media unfriendly."

"His statement confirmed his hate posture of the Liberian media," remarked an angry journalist.

From time in memorial, guys at the top of the presidential guard, formerly SSS and now EPS, have seen the media as enemy of their subjects evident by their actions and public statements.

The SSS under Charles Taylor worked against the interest of the media and were used to spy on them.

Journalists and SSS personnel assigned to Taylor at the time were at loggerheads with one another all of the times.

According to Warrick, "the EPS will not hesitate to go after any Journalist who will intrude the intelligence of the Presidency."

Besides booing him, journalists at the occasion called on him to publicly 'take back' his utterances and threats against the Liberian media.

Director Warrick was quoted by the Global News Network (GNN), an online news magazine that he has no regret for the statement.

"I am here to protect the presidency, EPS will not hesitate to go after any journalist who will intrude the intelligence of the presidency," he told the GNN.

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