9 February 2016

Liberia: The Media Must Be Steadfast

editorial

Since The Death of Harry A. Greaves, the former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Liberians have been frightened by sequence of mysterious deaths, prompting concerns over their safety and security.

Mr. Greaves Went missing last Friday, January 29, 2016 after his driver dropped him off at the RLJ Resort in Kendejah along Robertsfield highway. Since then, he was never seen alive until his body was discovered on the beach during the early morning of January 31, 2016 behind the Foreign Ministry. His death remains a mystery and many Liberians are shocked on how the renowned Liberian economist was killed as though he was street man.

However, While A team of pathologists is investigating the killing of Mr. Greaves to determine the actual cause of death, the entire matter took a different twist last weekend, when opposition politician, Simeon Freeman, speaking on the basis of rumor, blamed the government for the demise of Mr. Greaves. Speaking at a news conference, Freeman alleged that government has a list of opposition politicians to be eliminated. His statement prompted the Liberia National Police to launch a manhunt for him. As a result, LNP officers barricaded Mr. Freeman's residence while in search of him.

In The Midst of the tautness, two journalists, who visited the home of Mr. Freeman to take photographs, came under attacks from officers of the LNP. More than that, the reporters were harassed by LNP officers and photos deleted from their cameras. They were arrested, handcuffed, thrown at the back of a vehicle marked LNP 6 and detained for taking the photos of the residence of Mr. Freeman that has been described as a crime scene by LNP authorities.

Irritated By The unwarranted action by the police, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has demanded an immediate halt to increasing threats being made against Liberian journalists. In a release, the union said it is concerned about numerous reports by journalists about anonymous and threatening remarks being made against them in the face of indicative leads they are providing to the Harry Greaves mystery.

This is also backed by rumor planned clamp down on dissent, in the face of the courageous journalism which exposed crucial allegations of high level police involvement in armed robbery and other serious crimes in the country. "No level of reporting should constitute any harm against journalists," Press Union President Abdullai Kamara warned, and called upon the Government of Liberia to demonstrate its support for a free press by standing in defense of journalists' reportage on occurrences in our country.

Kamara Expressed The Press Union's concern about growing security issues in the country, giving the ongoing withdrawal of UNMIL from Liberia, and called for the government to show its commitment to provide security, especially and including for government critics, political opposition and journalists, who are in the fore of exposing shortcomings in our society.

The Media Is the watchdog of any society and it is under obligation to inform, educate, and analyze events and issues as they unfold. But under the current situation, it is becoming visible that the work of the press is being hindered and undermined by certain individuals, who think the media is about to unravel secrets and circumstances surrounding the demise of Harry Greaves.

It Is The work of the media to go beyond the autopsy report because it is not going to reveal the identities of the individuals who killed Harry.

We Urge Our professional colleagues in the media to remain unbending and steadfast in the performance of their duties. The action by police officers, who besieged the home of Simeon Freeman over the weekend, is unwarranted and evil and serves as a recipe to deny journalists from doing their job.

Liberia

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