A senior Liberian journalist and member of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Jonathan Paye-Layleh, has urged Liberian security forces, especially those currently assigned at checkpoints, to maintain the cordial relationship and friendship that has existed between them and the media community over the years, as collectively, Liberians fight to defeat the Coronavirus.
He said it is because of this long-standing cordiality that journalists have always been there for security people — taking interest in highlighting their plight when working conditions appear unfavorable for them.
Mr. Paye-Layleh, one of those on the frontline in the media battle against attempts at muzzling the press in Liberia, was speaking when he interacted with a group of checkpoint security personnel in Monrovia after the Press Union of Liberia’s meeting on May 8.
He admonished especially police, immigration and Drug Enforcement Agency personnel to take a deep reflection and remember that whenever they are confronted with issues such as salary delays and low incentives, it is the media, not government ministers, which normally flags the issues and create the necessary awareness before government comes in to fulfil its obligation to them.
He told them to respect the authorities of government but they should also remember that discretional and rational decision-making is key to all security operations globally.
The journalist further reminded checkpoint security that only media people will always be available and accessible to listen to their concerns when, for ethical reasons, they are unable to make their own case publicly.
Mr. Paye-Layleh concluded by telling the officers to watch out and they will surely see that once the virus crisis has been declared over, some of the very ministers who are giving security people instructions to restrict the movements of journalists will drive past their checkpoints at lightning speed without even slowing down to know their plight.
The journalist appealed to religious leaders in the country to take interest in and mediate to end the current standoff between the government and the media community over the issuance of press passes to media workers.