The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Wednesday October 21, met with radio talk-show host, Mr. T-Max Jlateh and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), following allegations made by Mr. Jlateh of “threats to his life”. The meeting also involved representatives of the Inter-Religious Council, the National Civil Society Council and some senior Journalists.
Mr. Jlateh, who was accompanied to the gathering by his lawyers, provided his account of the “threats”, while reiterating his earlier complaint filed with the PUL – in which he alleged being alerted to pending plots against him and his family, and in some instances, being pursued by unmarked vehicles.
The radio talk-show host also said that he harbors no personal problem with the Liberian Leader President George M Weah, emphasizing that he has not personally received any threats from President Weah.
The PUL President Mr. Charles Coffey also informed the Information Ministry of incidents of threats against some journalists and asked that the Ministry intervenes to guarantee the safety of all Journalists and Media workers throughout the country
In response to these matters, Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie reassured Mr. Jlateh and the PUL that the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for the respect of the dignity of the human person, freedom of expression and a high level of political and social tolerance irrespective of views expressed and actions taken remain cardinal.
“This government is not in the business of taking people’s lives, neither interested in violating the fundamental rights of any of its citizens”, Minister Rennie reassured.
The Information Minister assured Mr. Jlateh that his concerns about “threats to his life” will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for further action.
Minister Rennie said as a journalist himself, he understands the plight of his media colleagues and will work towards improving the media landscape, but he also used the occasion to frown on incendiary language and reportage by some media outlets – saying the media and all citizens have a co-responsibility to ensure the consolidation of Liberia’s peace and democracy .
The Information Minister said he will work to ensure a regular dialogue with the PUL and Civil Society Organizations as a means of addressing differences between and amongst journalists and civil actors.