22 March 2019

Liberia: Rep. Sloh Suggests 'Media Blackout On House of Representatives'

Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh expressed his disappointment over delays by the PUL and LEGISPOL to place media blackout on the House of Representatives to avenge the illegal revocations.

Representative Jay Nagbe Sloh, the chairman on the House Committee on Information, Broadcast and Culture had urged the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL) and the various associations within the Liberian media fraternity to give a total media blackout on all "activities" of the House of Representatives for what he termed as the "illegal' revocation of the media accreditations of Mr. Musa Kenneh of Truth FM, the President of the Legislature Press Pool (LEGISPOL) and three other journalists.

The Sinoe County District #2 Representative told reporters on Tuesday that the Committee on Information, Broadcast and Culture, which has oversight responsibility over print and broadcast activities and culture in Liberia, was not consulted or notified but instead House's Speaker Bhofal Chambers unilaterally pressurized House's Presss Director Isaac G. Redd to do the revocations of the journalists, an accusation, the Speaker has since denied, arguing the decision was squarely the prerogative of the House's Press Bureau.

He also expressed his disappointment over delays by the PUL and LEGISPOL to place media blackout on the House of Representatives to avenge the illegal revocations.

"It's wrong. The decision must be rescinded. If Musa Kenneh is not allowed to cover session in the House of Representatives beginning Thursday, there will be no session."

Rep. Sloh was the former Director General for the Liberia News Agency (LINA) and have about 30 years of experience in journalism.

He criticized House's Speaker Chambers of 'poor leadership' arguing that the Speaker has made the House of Representatives to appear "weak and inconsistent."

The House or Representatives Press Office wrote: "We are therefore requesting your institution to send a replacement of Mr. Musa Kenneh."

It may be recalled, the Lower House, through the Press and Public Affairs Bureau, revoked the media accreditations on Friday, February 19, 2019, barring the four journalists from covering and attending all activities of the House of Representatives, including sessions.

The other revoked media accreditations were those of Mr. Jackson Foyofayiah of Focus Newspaper, Ms. Meme Simoke of Gedeh High and Mr. Edward Palmer of Corruption Watch.

The communications to the managements of the four media institutions, of which copies are in the possession of the Daily Observer, were signed by Mr. Isaac G. Redd, Director of Press and Public Affairs of the House of Representatives and copied to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.

"As a matter of improving relationship with media institutions and inviting quality to the output of the coverage to the public, and the Legislature (Honorable House of Representatives), we have adopted a policy to infuse new reporters and remove those who are redundant and have been repetitive in their coverages," the communications said.

"Madam/Sir, we have identified your reporter as one of those whose accreditation is hereby revoked. We are therefore requesting your institution to send a replacement of Mr. Musa Kenneh," the letter to Truth FM said.

It further said: "Kindly consider this exercise as a best practice that is intended to enhance aggressive media service of your reportage to the public."

The Deputy Director of Renaissance Communication Incorporated (RCI), Mr. Abraham Wheon, in a communication to House's Press Director Redd rejected the request of replacement of its reporter Mr. Kenneh, and argued that the Bureau also does have the right to remove the institution report over what it called because of "redundant and have been repetitive in coverage."

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