LNP Assures Journalists Protection on June 7

9
1238

To safeguard journalists and news entities coverage of the planned June 7 “peaceful protest,” the Liberia National Police (LNP) has promised to provide security for reporters on duty during the event, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) said in a release.

According to the release, Police Inspector General Patrick T. Sudue gave the assurance shortly after meeting the PUL leadership on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 in Monrovia.

“The police shall protect all (local and foreign) journalists throughout the protest.”

Sudue however cautioned journalists to work on their visibility to avoid any situation of mistaken identity when gathering news about the protest.

He then announced a ban on the deployment of armed police officers throughout the June 7 protest.

Meanwhile, IG Sudue has expressed fear of “assets on the loose” referencing terrorist groups operating in West Africa that the protesters should be mindful of the possible unexpected presence during the exercise, because terrorists target large groups of people in one location.

PUL President Charles B. Coffey, Jr. stressed the need for the safety of journalists, and the aligning duty of the police to ensure the safety of the reporters, while covering public events such as rallies and protests.

Coffey said it was important that the PUL and LNP officers innovate ideas that will avoid violence against journalists during the mass gathering of people on June 7.

The United Nations Security Council passed a historic resolution in 2006, calling for an end to impunity against journalists, and the subsequent 2012 action of major UN agencies to arrive at a comprehensive ‘Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists.’

In the wake of the June 7 protest, the United Nations and West African Regional Envoys, have been holding separate meetings with the Weah Administration and the Council of Patriots (protest organizers) in an effort to ensure that the country’s laws are upheld as fundamental human rights.

Media woes

In a related development, the release said PUL leadership is worried about the worsening contraction of the media economy.

“The Union is sickened by the decline in advertisement flow to the traditional media in the country,” the release said.

But Coffey said the deteriorating state of revenue intake in the media can be related to government sanctioning advertisements on the Executive Mansion Website.

Mr. Coffey wants government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), development partners, private and public financial institutions to contribute to stimulating advertisement in the traditional media in Liberia as means for helping journalism to survive.

“It is important that government settle its indebtedness with Media institutions, because these are small businesses, which now find it difficult to operate in the absence of low energy supply in the country.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. “He then announced a ban on the deployment of armed police officers throughout the June 7 protest…Meanwhile, IG Sudue has expressed fear of “assets on the loose” referencing terrorist groups operating in West Africa that the protesters should be mindful of…”

    It isn’t surprising readers would sense ambivalence from the above. Granted that nobody wants trigger-happy cops among protesters, deploying or not deploying “armed police officers” ultimately will be determined by available credible actionable intelligence information. That’s why in tense unpredictable times, the Security Sector should speak with one voice and IG Sudue should’ve referred the PUL boss to Justice Minister Musa Dean as Chief Law Enforcement officer and Chairman of the Security Sector.

    More especially, when talking to a representative of journalists that might raise hue and cry if later threat assessments necessisate the use of “armed police officers” in protecting protesters, or “safeguarding public security…” as mandated by Chapter 111, Article 13 (a). Furthermore, it is worth remembering that
    the February 26 joint statement of UN, AU and ECOWAS warning against “media messages that promote violence” was meant to avoid situations whereby forebodings of physical harm hang over everyone like radioactive fumes.

    And, unfortunately, I didn’t hear advice on need for accurate reporting, fairness, and accountability throughout the June 7 protest. Because one cannot forget the relentless rabble-rousing role of media practictioners, particularly Henry Costa and Rodney Sieh, regarding the “several days” of protests for “redress” of “grievances” that must be implemented before they end. Not to mention that Article 17 talk of right to “petition the government or other functionaries”, not directly the President as Henry Costa would’ve his viewers believe. Let’s beware of boneheaded zealotry and remember the barbarity hate media stoked in Rwanda.

  2. The Liberian National Police (LNP) will do exactly what is required of them. The LNP will ensure that disorderly conduct on the part of protesters will not prevail, but rather a peaceful march from beginning to end. The LNP will dutifully respect the civil liberties of protesters as long as the protesters desist from theft, fights, looting or other forms of vigilantism alone the way. Non-protesters, spectators, innocent bystanders and journalists will be protected.

    Also, radio broadcasters should maintain a low profile and refrain from making outlandish statements that could fan the flame of confusion. The situation is tense. No one wants violence: neither the president Mr. Weah nor the citizens of Liberia and hopefully including the protesters. If Weah refuses to kow-tow to the demands of the protesters, it should be understood that Rome was not built in a day’s time. In order words, it takes time for the details of a conflict to be worked out. Civil disobedience, not violence, is a good way of achieving results.

    Finally, the heads of all collaborating parties must be in attendance. Their sheer presence will ensure a peaceful protest. The absence of the heads of the collaborating parties will send a different message. It is senseless to plan something and then stay away from the heat of it.

    Peace.

  3. LNP and other institutions of government must be kept updated on June 7, and unequivocally told that Chapter 111, Article 17 of our Constitution doesn’t say that the President must be presented with “grievances” by Protesters, rather to “government or its functionaries”. Lest we forget, such boneheaded provocation of going to the Executive Mansion resulted in the bloody confrontation on April 14, 1979. A supposedly peaceful June 7 protest isn’t any revolt against a democratically- elected government in office for less than two years. Needless to say the price of rice (excuse for a foreign covert aggression-inspired regime change protest) is still rising: Bull crap.

  4. Planners of the June 7 protest have said repeatedly that they are peaceful. Of course, the planners could have engaged the president. Mr. Weah in a genuine democratic detente. That would have been preferred. Sadly, the planners chose not. The planners prefer to put their supporters out there as a way of expressing themselves. It is not wrong for a peaceful march to be held. A protest is a form of expression. We sincerely hope that the planners will stick to their promise. However, if the protesters choose the path of violence as opposed to being peaceful, the government of Weah will be prepared to contain any aggression.

  5. In a spirit of equity or perhaps full disclosure you could say, the organizers of this demonstration declared their intent or plan to demonstrate several months ago. Along with that, they declared their planks or agenda for the planned demonstration to the GOL and the general public, having to do with the unteeming wave of corruption in Liberia, whereby recent dirt-poor urchins have become millionaires overnight as exemplified in the types of cars they drive, the amount and values of the real estates they are acquiring; not to mention their life styles or the manner of personal adornments.

    Additionally, the demonstrators have said and continue to say daily, that their intent is to carry out this peaceful demonstration as an expression of their discontent and opposition to the callous and brazen manner in which the meager resources of the country are being plundered by the rascals now in charge of the affairs of state.

    We call them rascals because these same zokoes once derided previous government officials for these very nefarious tendencies and said, if given the chance, they “will clean the mess.” But with the current trend of uncontrolled scrambling for wealth by this administration, boy, this must be some helluva way of “cleaning up that mess.”

    Such unbridled state of looting cannot be allowed to continue and at the detriment of all of us as a nation, as if we were all some bunch of sheep, or collaborators. This is why June 7 is necessary, to register our displeasure and disapproval with the reckless self-aggrandizing manner in which the affairs of our country is being run, which must stop and immediately! Why? Because those same self-centered tendencies were the basis, or some of the factors that would eventually burst into our internecine war, after condoning them for over a century.

    Having said all that, one wonders why would such noble cause be anticipated to erupt into chaos and mayhem by the organizers, if not a worn ploy by hired propagandists or patented saboteurs like the 2 of you, Sylvester Moses and Frances Hney?

    June 7 happens to be one of those many precepts of democracy like voting, freedom of speech, religion, movement, etc., so nobody needs to bleed or die in the exercise of any of those rights.

    Whereas especially the likes of you Sylvester Moses, are the ones stoking not only fear but inciting violence underhandedly for this demonstration.

    For example, the police chief and obviously on advice of other stakeholders has declared that police officers will not be armed as a show of good faith, and there you are, decrying that move as foolhardy. Suggesting instead, that the police ought to come armed with live bullets in readiness to carry out their duty “to protect lives and properties.” implying that you prefer citizens being killed, to being arrested or teargassed in the event of disruption in the expected flow of the demonstration.

    Of course, we are not surprised by that stance of yours, after all those were the same advisories you and cohorts availed to Doe, which culminated into 14 years of death and destruction upon our once peaceful country. And here you go again.

  6. Peter Gboyo,
    I am forced to respond because you are dead wrong on four counts:

    1. My name is not Frances. Good guess though. Many people have wondered and went so far as to do what you’ve done. You’ve assigned a name to me that my loving parents never gave me. Why does my name matter?

    2. I am not a propogandist. Never will I be. I do understand that we’re operating in the court of public opinion. You Mr. Gbody have a right to express yourself.

    3. I expect you to be factual. Don’t do a guess work or state falsehoods. I am not against the protest march. I sincerely believe that the marchers have a God-giving right to express themselves. But I am concerned about the planners’ pronoucements or demands and their strategy. In my view, it would have been logical if the planners of the march had lobbied the elected lawmakers to push for the removal from office of “some” cabinet ministers.

    Let’s look at the US for a nano second….
    Let’s say that a cabinet secretary in Trump’s government is found to have stolen 25 million dollars. From all indications, it is known that a cabinet secretary has embezzled the American taxpayers’ money. In this scenario, who demands the termination of the cabinet secretary? Will Kamala Harris, Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren (all of whom are presidential contenders) call for a protest? Absolutely not!. The demand to oust a cabinet secretary in Trump’s government will be done by the elected officials! The elected members of congress. That’s my point. The elected members of both Houses in Liberia are constitutionally charged with responsibility to demand a cabinet minister’s ouster. For once, lets act democratically.

    4. I have noticed that whenever a commenter takes a different view unlike the views of Weah’s critics, that person usually becomes marginalized, insulted, put on notice or viewed with extreme skepticism. That is troubling! It reminds of the old Liberian movie you and I have watched. It’s the movie I call “so say one, so say all”. Gosh! When a particular group of people disagree with Weah, it’s mighty okay. They have a right to form an opinion in their heads. So do I! The fact that I disagree “sometimes” does not mean I am belligerent. If one group of people say so, all of us do not have to agree. It’s not illogical to disagree.

    Good guess though comrade Peter Gboyo. I have been called Frances, Frederick, David, internet cop, Weah’s paid agent and many more unassigned names. Pretty soon, someone will call me Fantastic!

    Peace.

    • Classic “paralysis of analysis,” for lack of a better description in the interim. The examples you used here to undergird your point, for example, is so porous and untenable for the reality you labor to conceptualize.

      Who takes what action against corrupt and reckless lawbreakers in society is a function of the level of consciousness of the victims of that society. That, plus the sanctity of the dichotomy separating the two classes. In our particular scenario, for example, our lawmakers (make that lawbreakers) have become paralyzed in effecting any expected duties/functions having being co-opted by the executive.

      As such, those with the social-politico insight or wherewithal become duty-bound to speak out against, or decry the unwholesome emergence and in so doing, play their historical role as advocates and defenders of the rest of society. So don’t come here with that false apple-orange comparison. Only for the uninitiated.

  7. Gboyo,
    You continue to labor under an extreme form of illusion. Your understanding of how the Liberian legislators are is your opinion. Just because you feel a certain way about them does not mean everyone is obliged to agree with you. For instance, you insist that the elected lawmakers of Liberia should be referred to as lawbreakers. That’s your opinion. In my view, they could be referred to as legislatively ineffective. But lawbreakers? How do I know whether all the Liberian legislators are lawbreakers. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

    You also contend that in addition to being lawbreakers, the Liberian legislators are so weak that the executive branch of government (probably meaning Weah) has prevailed over them. If that is your view, why is it that the protest organizers cannot find a way to vote the legislators out of office? Wouldn’t that be a good place to start?

    The protest organizers do not speak for all Liberians.

Leave a Reply