A prominent Liberian journalist, Jonathan Paye-layleh, has expressed sadness and disappointment that the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has been so relaxed in pursuing the concerns of media people as contained in a statement of complaint presented to President George Manneh Weah nearly two years ago, following a string of assaults on media people by state actors, adding that these attacks have continue to date.
Mr. Paye-layleh’s concerns were contained in a letter he addressed to the Press Union of Liberia, Charles Coffey, Jr to acquaint him with the extremely difficult circumstances Liberian journalists go through not with standing still go ahead to promote and highlight the positive happenings in government.
“Journalists have unconditionally responded to invitations from state actors, including covering the weekly Ministry of Information press gatherings; they have taken interest in media invitations from officials even if what’s meant to be a gathering to discuss real issues ends up a mere lecture session like we’ve seen in recent times. They do so because they are under professional obligation to disseminate essential information to the consuming public”.
He noted that Media people have followed President George Weah on his tours of the country, many of them putting aside critical reportage to highlight the president’s positive engagements with the citizenry, terming it as social responsibility. He added that however journalists need to be safe and secure to continue to work for the public. Their concerns, especially when it comes to issues affecting their safety have to be taken seriously.
He said that As he wrote the letter, then journalists are at a loss with the outcome of the work of the Laurence Bropleh Committee set up to look into a chain of complaints of assaults on journalists put before President Weah.
“In view of these, President Coffey, I urge you and your able leadership to act as quickly as possible to ensure that the communication detailing assaults on media people and presented to President Weah in February 2020 is responded to
“I wish I didn’t have to add, but Mr. President, let me state that if no action is taken by the leadership of the PUL in time to ensure that the issue is put to rest and some real response is generated from the presidency, I will lead a campaign that could get a huge chunk of the membership of the PUL to suspend their engagements with the Union until the issue has been addressed”, he noted.
Payelayhleh maintained that the The Press Union of Liberia is dear to the Liberian media practitioners but they need to be taken seriously and be safe to work for the common good of the public we serve.
“I am of the conviction that as a listening leader, you will take this matter seriously and start engaging the office of President Weah to respond to us”, he concluded.