We are taught that a newspaper (the media) informs, educates and entertains, with the desire to persuade or convince about the critical issues affecting the “human condition”; that an independent, free, fair and truthful newspaper is indispensable to functioning democracy; that the newspaper is a friendly adversary to state or political power, reporting news events without fear or favor; and that the newspaper is the eyes & ears of state or political power into the executive offices of ministers of state, and executive offices and boardrooms of state-owned enterprises.
We so penned, in a memorandum to our superiors, during the 1980s while serving as policy, staff advisor. But we noted, and note today, that: a) Some Liberian newspapers and publishers had been, and are cronies and mouthpieces of state or political power; and b) Others had been, and are disguised, secret supporters of major public policy of state or political power, but openly, publicly critical of some elements, the results or effects, of the major public policy, widely known detrimental to the people and nation.
From experience, we found the Front Page newspaper to be in muted support of the Unitary structure of government, and extremely arrogant; here are our reasons:
Firstly, the implicit failure/refusal by the Front Page newspaper and publisher to challenge, publicly, the 168-year old, 1847 Law, the Unitary Structure of the Liberian Government, enshrined in the nation’s Constitution, while fiercely and publicly critical of its elements, effects, corruption, etc., for example. Reasonably, structure influences behavior, and similarly, the structure of the Liberian Government influenced and continues to influence the behavioral performance of all employees, including executive functionaries in government;
Secondly, for no other reason, one would think, that any reasonable public administrator or democratic politician, answerable to the citizens, would seek to implement change, with reforms, In the light of doing the same thing for a century with disastrous results. For, throughout 168 years, successive, Liberian, political leaderships and derivatives, held on to the unitary structure, while the nation becomes a “failed State”; and Thirdly, the unitary structure, the major public policy of government, under Law, supports and ensures the following, very few of the negative, disastrous effects:
• The rigid centralization of power – political, economic and administrative – in a President and dispensed from the Executive Mansion, City of Monrovia, Republic of Montserrado County; a president who has become so powerful that he/she controls, unquestionably, all, three, branches of government as an “imperial” President;
• Rural-to-Urban population movement without planning & control, with congestion, unsanitary conditions, 24/7 traffic jams, no safe streets/roads, with economic/political constipation which renders the nation’s capital city, Monrovia, ungovernable;
• The prevailing absence of safe, efficient/effective, national all-weather roads & highways (transport/communications) for mass movement of people, production, exchange and distribution of goods and services;
• Poverty, hunger and disease afflict citizens of distant, rural villages and towns who depend on imported rice, cooking oil and related staples, and deaths from curable ailments due to lack approved drugs and efficient healthcare service ;
• Dual citizenship, although illegal, but dual citizens dominate and control the nation’s political economy and management of, almost, all state-owned enterprises, bought homes, maintain families in and make periodic trips to the foreign countries with fabulous incomes generated in Liberia; and
• Corruption, but anti the declared National Policy on Decentralization & Local Governance.
All of the foregoing, and much more, are the results or effects caused by the outdated, obsolete and 168 year-old unitary structure of our government. Now, Front Page boasts superior academic/intellectual ability (FrontPageonline Editorial, December 11, 2015), a condition dedicated to the search for the truth, among others, based on human reason – the whys, hows, whens, wheres, and wherefores of corruption, etc., which would have been, in our simple view, the proper, reasonable approach. But the Front Page did not.
Rather, Front Page and friends, the Honorable John Morlu and others, declared citizens of foreign countries who sold their allegiance, loyalty and patriotism to the foreign countries, now become the frontline, fox-holed combatants “to fight corruption”, one of the effects, while “butter would not melt in their mouths”, completely silent in dedicated, implicit support of the Unitary structure, the cause that ensures Corruption, etc. However, Front Page and friends do have the right of freedom of choice, but only that their choice appears to be a contradiction and, in our view, and a logical fallacy.
About the Front Page’s refusal to publish rejoinders and related articles offering insights, balanced views, and/or a challenges, critical analysis of Front Page’s editorials or articles by friends of Front Page, dealing with public, political issues and published by Front Page are a different matter. For, in such a case, we believe, that Front Page is obligated to its readers to publish and present both sides of an important argument – critical public, political issues for the readers’ information. This refusal action, in our non-journalist’s view, is contrary to journalist’s/publisher’s body of rules (Ethics) to which Front Page is sworn, and about which Front Page is much more knowledgeable than we are.
Finally, we are of the opinion that Front Page’srepeated refusal to publish our rejoinders and related articles is an act of apparent arrogance, analogous to Liberian officialdom’s “Conspiracy of Silence” by and in which they hold and say, “let them talk and talk, write and write, we will continue to do our thing”. Indeed, they are doing “our thing”, wallowing in a cesspool of corruption and other disastrous, national consequences!!