Thursday, September 22, 2011 was another sad day in the history of the Liberian media – a day when ‘a government-in-waiting’ exhibited and widened its unfriendly posture against a number of local media institutions here.
Among the institutions, the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC publicly blacklisted several media institutions, including the New Dawn, as ‘evil geniuses’ and enemies at its headquarters in Congo Town prior to the commencement of a news conference hosted by its former standard bearer, now vice standard bearer, George Weah.
The CDC, through its official spokesman and Director of Press and Public Affairs, was very emphatic in alleging that the New Dawn Newspaper – and a few other newspapers and radio stations had been ‘planted’ to destroyed its political programs, especially ahead of the October 11 General and Presidential Elections in Liberia.
“Anybody here from the New Dawn Newspaper? Okay…, please come outside; look my brother, the CDC does not have anything against you as an individual, but your institution is an evil genius planted to destroy the operation of this party, and we have resolved not to do business nor interact with the Unity Party sponsored paper; you are our enemy,” were the official policy announced by the CDC, through its Director of Press and Public Affairs to the New Dawn represented by its reporter before Mr. George Weah began his news conference to make clear his consultancy deal with Alan White-a former chief investigator of the Special Court for Sierra Leone following a number of recent publications in the papers that he felt uncomfortable with.
Our reporter was then ordered out of the news conference in the presence of some senior and respected executives because the CDC was uncomfortable with “a paper bent on ‘obliterating’ activities of the CDC, which it considered counterproductive in the eyes of Liberians, especially eligible voters”.
“If you make any attempt to stay here, it will be at your own detriment and the CDC will not be in any position to answer to any authority, not even the Press Union of Liberia”, warned the CDC spokesman.
Why would the CDC want to venture into a ‘war’ with the New Dawn when we’ve been in the vanguard of giving it hope and stability during its trouble times, wherein it was being mortgaged to the Liberty Party and the very Winston Tubman in Accra, Ghana without the advice and consent of the its executive committee, including its Chairman, Vice Chairmen and former Assistant Secretary General (Secretary General)? Didn’t the CDC see us as a “Unity Party-sponsored newspaper at the time its officials, including the Chairman, Secretary General and Standard Bearer provided us information on the Brumskine-Weah Deal for publication?
Though we intend not to give much credence to the CDC’s threats and attack on us because of its unpreparedness and many political limitations, we also reject its negative public utterances which we think are not only anti-democratic, but irresponsible and a misrepresentation of its very name.
While there may be a cordial media relations with a few officials and individuals within the CDC, and in as much we at the New Dawn do respect the hierarchy of the Congress for Democratic Change like any other political party in Liberia, we see these latest anti media sentiments by the party as a dangerous and anti-democratic path on which it is now threading as a ‘government-in-waiting”.
While we believe the Congress for Democratic Change has been and continues to be a political elephant, it is yet to have a comprehensive understanding of what POLITICS is, as well as what it entails in terms of characteristics; rather, the party has begun to indulge in the ‘blame game.’
The CDC has only refreshed our minds of the declaration by its former standard bearer, now vice standard bearer George Manneh Weah during the 2005 elections that he and the CDC did not depend on the local Liberian media, but international media for promotion.
As a result of such public declaration by Mr. Weah, the CDC and its supporters went on the offensive to terrorize and brutalize journalists in Congo Town with no sense of understanding that the party was a ‘government-in-waiting’ and needed to be democratically civilized.
Anyway, we do accept last Thursday’s challenge and threats from the CDC, and equally assured that from a distance, the New Dawn –Liberia will keenly follow and report the activities of the Congress for Democratic Change before, during and after the ensuing General and Presidential Elections without fear or favor. That’s the duty we uphold to our professional practice and the Liberian people.