Liberia may be gradually emerging as a democracy=one that is characterized by the various forms of freedom, even though there may also be ‘underground maneuverings’ in certain quarters of the public sector to keep such freedoms at a manageable level. Though such maneuverings are not done openly and this is something that those spearheading such campaign may also want to defend, the quiet nature of the action continue to strangulate the media sector so much so that the weak ones are subjecting themselves to the whims and caprices of those claiming to be promoters of democracy in Liberia.
It is an open fact that when a media institution becomes so tough in digging up and reporting information about certain elements of the public sector in line with journalistic ethics and principles, the perception about that institution is very negative. This is where the issue of branding, naming or attachment becomes the focus of such ‘underground campaign’ against that particular newspaper, radio station or television station.
In most cases, especially so when such media institution is not truly independent, institutions within the public sector are advised not to advertise or do business with that particular newspaper, radio or TV station-invitations for coverage of events and news conferences are never extended to that institution, and the isolationist policy continues on and on until such a media institution submits.
For the very few that continue to reject such manner and form of assimilating media institutions into such closed democratic system-even though there is pretense really upholding the various freedoms in Liberia today ‘more than ever before’, a new strategy has been developed, but again, exposed. Such strategy by individuals and institutions not only in the public sector (the government), but the private sector to include political parties, has to do with BRIBERY.
What we at The New Dawn alarm our colleagues about is the attribution of our critical stories and articles to requests for bribes from these individuals and institutions as a way of demonizing us and our institution. “They will soon begin to tell the public that because we asked them for money to kill their stories and they refused, that’s why we decided to be very critical” –beware, comrades, this is a trying time in our nation’s history.
We are not their friends, but only partners, and such partnership must be characterized by mutual respect. This is something not many of them are abreast of as public officials, political leaders and ordinary politicians. While we must admit to the fact that some of our colleagues may be in the business of “mercenary journalism” around here as evidenced by their activities from time to time, the few of us who believe in the principles of good journalism and want to remain truly independent must be very, very ‘security minded’ as we all journey together on the path of national development and growth.
We must be aware that they are hunting us-only because we fear nothing, but to do wrong, and because we’ve always strive in our weak ways to write the wrong, that’s why they want to demonize us by suggesting that we are asking for bribes to kill their stories. Brothers, sisters and comrades of the Fourth Estate, Beware! Beware of those you claim are your friends and your interests. Ro our brothers and sisters in this business of mercenary journalism, it is about time that you quit such venture to protect our noble profession, even though you may have join journalism to ‘hustle’ fast cash.
You can depend greatly on the power of your mind and your pen positively to live a good life in the profession, but not to use this noble profession of ours harass and intimidate well-meaning people in our society only because your insatiable wants. It is because we’ve refused to be you that politicians want to create lies. But we are aware.