The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is calling for an independent probe into the sudden demise of Liberian broadcast journalist Zenu Miller.
ALJA says it wants the Liberian government to promptly collaborate with the family of the fallen journalist in setting-up an independent commission that will bring together representatives of the Miller family, government, ECOWAS, United Nations and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for an impartial probe of the circumstances that gave rise to journalist Miller’s death.
In a press release issued on February 18, 2020, ALJA maintains the commission when constituted would bring in an international pathologist for the performance of an autopsy on the remains of the late journalist Miller in order to determine the medical causation of his death on February 15, 2020 following weeks of complaints of experiencing pains in the chest and legs.
Journalists Miller was an eminent broadcaster in Liberia and a talk show host at OK FM, a privately owned broadcast radio station based in Monrovia, Liberia. On January 26, 2020, the late Miller accused some officers of the Executive Protective Service (EPS) of physically assaulting him in the presence of the EPS’ Director at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex located in Paynesville, Liberia during the final soccer match played between Grand Kru and Nimba Counties in this year’s National County Meet Soccer Tournament.
ALJA says an autopsy performed by a credible pathologist would go a long way in determining if there is a correlation between the late Zenu’s death and the physical attack he reportedly suffered at the hands of the EPS officers, a presumption that many have made since the journalist’s death.
The Liberian based diaspora organization described as unfortunate the insensitivity of the Liberian government in addressing the late Journalist’s allegation, which was levied against the EPS’ officers weeks before his sudden demise.
ALJA says since the late Miller’s allegations, then there has been no formal denial or confirmation by the EPS or the Liberian government although his allegations were made weeks ago, condemned by the PUL, and reported by a number of news organizations including the BBC on the January 29, 2020 edition of Focus on Africa program.
Meanwhile, ALJA is expressing disappointment in the management of Ok FM, the deceased Journalist’s employer, for failing to take appropriate actions in seeking redress to the allegations made against the EPS.
The Association maintained had the management demonstrated leadership in dealing with the allegation levied against the EPS officers and director, it strongly believes the fallen Journalist would have gotten justice before his death.
At the same time, ALJA is condemning in the strongest term other reported attacks by Police Officers on Journalists Christopher Walker of the Front-Page Africa Newspaper and Bryant Dioh of Tubman University Radio. Journalist Walker was reportedly attacked at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex while providing coverage during the County Meet Tournament which ended last January.
ALJA called on the Liberian government to ensure that overzealous security officers who are fond of attacking Journalists in the discharge of their reportorial duties are brought to justice.
In another development, the Association is calling on President George Weah to muster the courage in taking responsibility for the current gasoline crisis in Liberia and reprimand officials of the government found liable for what has become a national embarrassment.
ALJA says the petroleum shortage has created unbearable suffering for the Liberian people, resulting in monumental increases in the cost of transportation and other essential commodities which depend upon adequate and affordable supply of gasoline.
The Diaspora based Liberian Journalists Association stressed that it welcomes the constitution of a special taskforce by the Liberian government to investigate circumstances surrounding the petroleum shortage in the country and called on the administration to make public the findings of the task force.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 and is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.