The Government of Liberia has rubbished a news report which appeared on the front page of the New Democrat newspaper Tuesday September 13, edition in which the paper allegedly made several scandalous and ridiculous allegations against President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea as dangerous, irresponsible and libelous.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Information signed by Deputy Minister Isaac Jackson says the government is extremely disappointed in the poor manner of journalism exhibited by the Publishers of the New Democrat newspaper because the publisher did not contact any authority of the Government of Equatorial Guinea to verify and counterbalance the libelous claims made by a racist British nationale, Thomas Burrows, the original author of the story.
The Ministry wonders why the New Democrat newspaper would stoop to publishing an unverified story contrary to Article 19, of the Code of Ethics and Conduct of the Press Union of Liberia, which states that “journalist should make adequate enquiries and cross-check facts before publication/broadcast”.
The statement says the government will not condone any act of recklessness on the part of any Liberian Journalist towards Leaders on the African continent which could undermine the country’s foreign policy and national interest.
The government warns that attribution excuses no journalist of legal consequences for deliberately maligning the reputation of an African leader who has been repeatedly reelected by his people. The Ministry reminded the Paper that it was the same sort of negative propaganda which led the Government of Equatorial Guinea to refrain from actualizing a bi-literal agreement with the Government of Liberia to provide funding for low-cost housing and the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport.
Furthermore, MICAT calls on the paper to immediately retract the story. The Ministry of Information has formally communicated with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) demanding that it takes strong punitive sanctions against the New Democrat in keeping with the PUL’s own Code of Ethics which abhors such unprofessional reporting.
The government recognizes the freedom of all, including the media, to express themselves and offer genuine criticism against any African Leader, but added that it will resist and reject news reports based upon deliberate falsehood engineered by the vestiges of neo-colonialist racists with the tendency of unfairly demonizing African Leaders.