Why I Am Not Among My Media Colleagues in Maryland for Press Freedom Day Celebration


Dear President Charles Coffey, officials and members of the media community

As you gather in the historic and traditionally-hospitable  county of Maryland for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, I send you the warmest of  greetings and express profound regrets that I will be missing out in the events.

As a member of the  PUL since 1987, I would have loved being in that part of Liberia, not only to participate in the ceremonies commemorating the day but to also have an opportunity — after more than two decades — to interact with the great and brave people of that county.  I would have loved sharing some cola nuts with pepper as I did many times when I visited.

In principle, I had even agreed to head or form part of one of the outreach teams to visit some remote places in or near the county to get to appreciate how people are coping with life and what they make of the new political arrangement.

Like I did in Lofa during our celebration there, I would have loved covering those distances to meet our people at different ends of the county and country.

But sadly due to the current state of security uncertainty in which I find myself owing to the long story all of you are aware of, I have been advised to remain in safety in Monrovia until the official treats against my life have been reduced and I feel safe to venture outside a bit.

This colleague of yours, ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate, has been going through difficult times in recent times — his only crime being helping to create the necessary awareness to end the civil war in Liberia to pave the way for one president to be elected after another.  This is how I am being paid for braving the storm to help create the peaceful  Liberia  we have today.

It will further sadden you to know that what started as a mere inquiry into an unexplained official outburst against me on March 22, 2018 at the presidency has now degenerated into an uglier situation where some former heads of defunct warring factions now see me as their enemy — that I am one person seeking a war crimes court for them. I am grappling with a serious situation, to say the least.

In view of all these complexities   and knowing how gullible our people are,  I didn’t think it  was  advisable to take any chances traveling to a leeward county.

But even though I am not with you in Maryland in person, my heart is with you all and I appreciate the continuation of what was started years back by taking the celebrations to our rural people — being a typical rural boy  myself.

Please celebrate in grand style. On your return to Monrovia,  I will meet and appreciate the leadership of the union in a special way for mustering the courage to travel the length to reach our people on that side of the country. Thanks to the wisdom and vision of those who made Maryland to form part of our republic in 1857.

Happy Press Freedom Day;  and may  God bless and guide us all and save the state.

Yours truly

Jonathan Paye-Layleh  
Former Chairman
The Press Club, Press Union of Liberia


  1. A man who creates fear when it doesn’t exist, is a man who hungers for attention. This is another vain attention seeking article by a boring BBC liberian reporter. Just go about your normal affairs as this peaceful administration or its followers will never lay a finger on you. You were never a hero in Journalism while this present government will not do a thing to make you look like one. We know our champions in journalism. Tom Kamara, Hassan Bility , Al Jerone, Ray Parker and other galant men not you Pay-layleh!

  2. Emmanuel, sorry to say; but your outburst against one of our brave and reputable journalist position statement on why he could not attend the gone world press freedom day celebrations in Maryland county is so petty and ridiculous to the highest core. Your insinuations is also laughable and disgusting to mention the least. I am not sure you were even mature to remember the true accounts of our deadly civil crisis the led to the death of more than 300,000 peaceful citizens and over half of million displacement into the neighboring sub region of our continent. FYI, Comrade Johnathan has been around and played a meaningful role through the sharing of very important information relative to the devastating war to the outside war that also help to attract the attention of the international community. These awareness further created interest of peace loving leaders who saw the need to swiftly intervene to the Liberia civil crisis when our lives span was only a day at a time decided by rebel Eugene Nagbe and his likes. I hope you would grow up and and seek correct information before writing crap against reputable brothers who have made significant contributions to the peace you and other detractors enjoy today in our country.

  3. Emmanuel Whitfield or what ever you call your self, you cannot compare the journalistic experience of Al Jerome or your Red Parker or Hassn Bility to that of Comrade Johnathan Pay- Layleh. You probably need to go back to your history to know when these guys came into the lam-light in the field of journalism. Thats what makes you ill-informed. The few names mentioned by you just proved you were still a kid when colleagues of the the mid 80s and early 90s were actively engaged in advocating for foredoom of speech from the infamous decree 88 A. Al Jerome you talk about was just a dis jockey at that time performing at the E J Royle building entertaining talent show participants and dancing at the Shanana disco, Black Sugar, Lips, Bacardi etc.. Red Parker did not even exist as a journalist. red Parker only became Continuity announcer on the Charles Snatter Radio Monrovia radio station. So junior brother, go back to review your information and know who to copmpare comrade Jonathan with in your next story telling. Just also note our now president was at that time staying with Archie Bernard when he was playing for the the Invincible Eleven under the leadership of Archie.


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