The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) says it welcomes the Liberian government’s pledge to bring to justice the perpetrators of the reported murder of a broadcast journalist, Tyron A. Browne, of the Monrovia-based Super FM radio station.
The station is owned by Liberian businessman and politician George Kailondo, a member of the opposition Unity Party (UP).
Browne was allegedly killed by some unknown individuals during the early morning hours of April 16 in the Du-port Road-Paynesville Community, outside Monrovia.
In a press release issued on April 18, ALJA said it supports the government’s stance in ensuring that the incident is probed and that no stone is left unturned in the arrest and prosecution of the culprits for this heinous act.
The Association asserted that the Weah-led administration must now begin to take concrete actions that would ensure that the probe is executed with immediacy and transparency.
ALJA said the Liberian government must exert every effort in ensuring journalist Browne’s murderer (s) and those of other peaceful Liberians slaughtered in a similar manner since the ascendancy of the Weah-led administration to power on January 22, are rounded up and prosecuted in a timely manner as well.
ALJA maintained that the journalist’s atrocious death and those of others, who predeceased him in a similar manner, speak volumes about how the security and human rights situation in Liberia is gradually taking a nosedive.
ALJA noted that the Liberian government has the moral and legal obligation to its citizens at home and abroad, and the international community by making sure that those who mobbed to death a man simply referred to as Mr. Kromah in the Lakpazee Community on February 21, reportedly for armed robbery, and individuals allegedly responsible for the death of Mrs. Joyce Otu Jaywheh in the ELWA Community in March of this year are arrested and forwarded to court for immediate prosecution.
Mrs. Jaywheh was a resident of Minnesota in the U.S. and had been living in Liberia a few months before her death.
The United States-based Liberian press corps noted that the reported murders, as well as the ongoing lawlessness in the country, have put a dent in the Weah-led administration’s human rights image at home and abroad, and the government must act now.
Meanwhile, ALJA said its attention has been drawn to the prevailing strained relationship between the CDC-led government and the media, which does not augur well for peaceful coexistence in the country.
The Association observed that no society the world over flourishes in the absence of a vibrant independent media, because the relationship between national development and the media is inseparable.
ALJA noted that if President Weah and the CDC-led administration are to succeed in the political governance of Liberia, the need for a cordial media and government relationship cannot be overstated.
ALJA said the local media is simply reflecting what is obtaining in the Weah-led administration and Liberia as a whole, and therefore ALJA stands firmly with FrontPageAfrica journalists, Jonathan Paye-layleh of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Associated Press (AP), and all other journalists and media institutions in the coverage of happenings in Liberia.
The Association said the Liberian media and the government are not adversaries, noting that the only thing the media is asking President Weah and his officials to do is to deliver on campaign promises they made to the Liberian people during the 2017 general and presidential elections.
ALJA reminded Mr. Weah and the CDC that they promised to ensure accountability in the public sector by weeding out corrupt and shady deals. And so they must deliver on those promises instead of venting their anger on the local media for simply performing its professional duties.
In a related development, the Association has described the death of the former president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Abdullah A. Kamara as a huge blow to Liberia and the Liberian media.
The Association said Kamara’s death is an irreparable loss to Liberia, because he was a fearless and robust advocate for press freedom and free speech in the country.
“ALJA is saddened by the loss and prays that the Almighty Allah would grant the PUL and the Kamara families solace during this difficult moment,” the release, signed by ALJA president Moses Sandy, said.
Mr. Kamara reportedly died of hypertensive stroke on April 17 at Phebe Hospital in Gbarnga, Bong County, where he had gone to conduct a workshop. The PUL’s former president’s remains were interred yesterday in Grand Cape Mount County.