Liberian Government: Stop Harassing Journalists

By Winsley S. Nanka

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

February 27, 2004

The reported arrest of the Heritage Newspaper’s staffers by the Liberian government for the distribution of ‘‘obscene materials” is profoundly disappointing barely four months after the removal of Charles Taylor from office because he violated the constitutional rights of Liberians.

Mr. Bryant must dismiss and prosecute Willie K Beleh, his Chief of Staff, Elias Selebie, Governor of the National Bank of Liberia, and the members of the board of directors for unreasonably compensating themselves tens of thousands of dollars at the expense of the Liberian people. It will show that Mr. Bryant and his government are really serious about law and order in Liberia and the protection of the interest of the Liberian people.

f Mr. Gyude Bryant truly believes in the protection of the Liberian people’s fundamental rights, he must take legal action against General Samuel Doe’s death squad ringleader, George Dweh, who is the source of the video. Why is he roaming around Monrovia freely and the Liberian Justice Ministry is humiliating the Heritage Newspaper’s Managing Editor, Mohammed Kanneh and others. It is a shame that the Liberian Justice Ministry headed by one of LURD’s leaders who could be a candidate for war crimes is arresting defenseless journalists.

It is hypocrisy of the first order for the Liberian Justice Ministry to arrest the Heritage Newspaper’s staffers for public indecency, while LURD and MODEL’s members are committing atrocities around Liberia despite the peace agreement that brought the rebels to power.

Mr. Bryant must be put on notice that the Liberian people will not support his government if it violates the rights of Liberians, while death squad chief, Speaker George Dweh, MODEL’s leader Thomas, Yaya Nimley, and the others abusers of human rights in Liberia are parading themselves around Monrovia.

Mr. Gyude Bryant must also remember that Charles Taylor was deposed because he grossly violated the rights of Liberians including journalists and human rights activists. Let it be known that anyone who undermines press freedom in Liberia would meet his fate like Mr. Taylor.