When Liberian journalists were threatened and attacked on a number of occasions in Ganta, Grand Gedeh and Monrovia during campaign activities for the October 11 general and presidential elections, little did Liberians know that these would have escalated to endanger the security of the State.
When journalists and media institutions were branded as ‘evil geniuses and enemies’ because of their critical reporting of inciting utterances of a few political leaders, many kept silent probably, out of fear, complacency or otherwise. Of late, threats and inciting utterances have begun manifesting themselves into terrorism.
Just a few days ago, specifically on Sunday, October 16 at about 2:45am, unknown armed gangs attacked the home of a broadcast journalist Smith Toby of Truth FM, while the Sarafina Ventures Incorporated, which runs Love Radio and TV on Tenth Street in Sinkor, is the latest victim of such terrorism on Monday, October 17 at 3:25am. Prior to these anti-peace actions on the media, the local headquarters of the ruling Unity Party in District Number Six, on Saturday, October 15 suffered an arson attack.
While the many condemnations against such barbarism by various groups and individuals are welcomed, we believe they are also very late. We are of the fervent belief that had the instigators of these acts been brought to book at the onset, especially by the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia, the Liberian media would not have been the target of these anti-peace political elements.
Moreover, the mere fact that the leadership of the PUL chose to expose journalists to danger by branding them repeatedly as “partisan journalists”, attacks on journalists by those who perceived them as e “enemies or evil geniuses” were imminent. In other words, had the leadership of the PUL not been very immature and partial in addressing issues arising out of the critical reportage of a number of media institutions, anti-media political elements would have chosen the most civilized means of seeking redress to their qualms with journalists.
Be that it may, we at the New Dawn-Liberia, also targets of these anti-democratic elements, do join our colleagues, compatriots and other well-meaning democratic institutions in condemning perpetrators of these terroristic acts against the media.
While we welcome the arrest of a number of suspects by the Liberia National Politic, it is also our hope that the police investigation will be characterized by fairness and frankness. Exposing the terrorists and their links will also serve as deterrence to misguided utterances which instigate violence against democratic institutions, including the media.
It is also our hope that in the wake of the threats against other media institutions, including the New Dawn-Liberia, that pay taxes to the Government of Liberia, there will be security protection or patrol of their offices, which may be targets of these terrorists.