Militants of the opposition Congress for Democratic Coalition (CDC) have severely flogged a reporter of the Informer Newspaper, Journalist Tennyson T. Torplue at the party’s sub-office in electoral district #5 in 72nd, Paynesville City.
During the attack, Journalist Torplue’s equipment, including a digital camera value over US$300 and a digital recorder were damaged with unspecified amount of United States and Liberian dollars allegedly stolen.
The Informer Reporter was amongst several other local journalists who had gone to provide media coverage on Saturday, 26 November during a petitioning ceremony for incumbent Montserrado County Representative Thomas Fallah.
Fighting erupted when some aggrieved zonal heads of the Coalition stormed the district head office, pretesting against alleged unfair treatment meted against them by those in charge of refreshment for the ceremony.
But they were prevented by a group of militants dressed in military camouflage trousers, who engaged them into a fight, while Coalition executives including Senator George Weah, criminally indicted former speaker Alex Tyler, Secretary General Nathaniel McGill, Jefferson Koijii and James Binney, among others were in a tight consultative discussion. The NewDawn Reporter, who was on the scene, said the Informer Reporter got his flogging when he attempted to interview one of the manhandled zonal heads.
His digital recorder was immediately smashed by the militants and while trying to retrieve it, Reporter Torplue was attacked and pulled out of the district compound into the dark and severely beaten.
The fighting attracted the attention of some residents sharing common boundary with the district office, and some decided to intervene but did not succeed due to the huge crowd was involved in the ‘free for all fighting.’
Angry residents described the action of the CDC militants and supporters as an unwholesome behavior especially, when they (residents) were asleep, violating their rights to a peaceful environment. Several minutes later, the leadership of the CDC resolved to intervene into the matter when it dispatched Youth Chair Koijii and others to invite parties to the conflict, including Journalist Torplue to a close door conference.
Outcome of the conference was not immediately disclosed, but there are indications that both parties reach an amicable resolution. When this paper queried CDC officials on the matter, they declined to comment. Political observers closely following the CDC and Journalists’ nightmare are calling for stern disciplinary action against militants involved in attacking and flogging journalists to set a precedent. Several Liberian Journalists have fallen prey to attacks from CDC partisans and supporters with impunity while performing their reportorial duties.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne