Minutes after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her Annual Message, made a pronouncement favorable to the Liberian media, a reporter from the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) found himself in “hot water” with the Minister of Information for interviewing an opposition lawmaker about his reaction to the President’s address.
The President announced that she would submit to the Legislature for consideration a bill seeking to decriminalize the violation of the right to freedom of expression and to repeal certain sections of the Penal Law of 1978 and People’s Redemption Council Decree 88A.
LBS reporter Emmanuel Capehart may be on the verge of losing his job for interviewing a member of the Lower House from the opposition bloc.
Capehart’s attempt to get a reaction from Rep. Moses Kollie on the President’s annual address, angered Information Minister Eugene Nagbe.
Minister Nagbe, also secretary-general of the ruling Unity Party, rebuked the reporter with profanities that shocked Rep. Kollie and several journalists on the scene.
Rep. Kollie is not just an influential member of the Lower House but also the chairman of the opposition Liberia People’s Democratic Party headed by former Speaker Alex Tyler, who joined the Coalition for Democratic Change.
Shouting at the top of his voice, Nagbe threatened to dismiss Caphart after the interview.
Questioning why the reporter allowed the opposition lawmaker to speak on state radio, Nagbe told Capehart, “I will dismiss you. Let’s put it to test and see,” he threatened.
Rep. Kollie later said: “For a Minister of Information to threaten a reporter of state radio for interviewing me shows his limitations, and I have challenged him to do that.”
The lawmaker, during the interview, spoke about what he termed as misinformation the President provided when she claimed to be the architect of the County Development Fund.
“She claimed glory that she does not deserve, but we (lawmakers) should take credit for this because we saw the needs of our people and decided to introduce the CDF.
“I was not speaking to the Minister. I don’t know why he got so furious about my interview,” Kollie said.
Meanwhile Minister Nagbe grew more furious and continued to shout, blasting at other reporters who also attempted to inquire about what was going on.
“You guys are making a scene and not me. Go to your seats,” he shouted. “If Moses Kollie is a man, let him come to me. I am the answer to all of these…
“Why don’t you interview those motherf****rs who were carrying caskets? You come to interview me? You are stupid. Yor get out of my face,” Nagbe ranted.