ON TUESDAY, THE Press Union of Liberia (PUL) ended its protest action which was instituted recently in a form of a news black-out on the Executive Mansion.
THE ACTION WAS instituted following threats on the lives of Liberian journalists by the Director of the Executive Protective Service (EPS), Mr. Othello Warrick. Mr. Warrick, speaking at program marking World Press Freedom Day held in Buchanan said as journalists have their pen so they as security men have their guns and will go after anyone who questions the integrity of Liberians including himself.
ACCORDING TO A PUL statement issued yesterday to end the blackout, the Union said the Freedom of Information (FOI) is of no significance if “journalists will be arrested without warrant by the EPS and that they will go after journalists who will question their integrity.”
THE PUL IN its statement said, “No, Madam President; the Table Mountain Declaration is of no effect if journalists are violated with impunity.”
‘SO WE COME today to disappoint our President that it has never been our intention to have an open ended protest action. We reluctantly reached the decision to take the actions we took and will not continue for the length she wants us to go,” the PUL said.
THE PRESS UNION of Liberia further said it has no history of starting any conflict in Liberia but has been in the frontline, fighting for social justice, peace and democracy in the country.
INDEED, THAT IS the position of the PUL and every journalist in the country. We are taking this decision not because we cannot challenge the Executive Mansion or Mr. Warrick but because of peace. We do not want other groups to use our protest to derail the peace process or do things that will be counterproductive to our already fragile peace.
IT IS A known fact that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and many of her officials including those who are engaged in media work for her are beneficiaries of her advocacy and that the media will not waiver on that mandate. During her days in the opposition, Madam President saw the media as a safe haven for her and persistently and consistently used the very media which is being crucified today to take on previous government.
WE ARE AWARE that the most attacks on the media are upon those in the simple pursuit of the truth, which we are under every obligation to encourage journalists to follow and therefore, we will continue our work and leave the rest with the world to decide what went on between the media, Mr. Warrick and his boss, President Sirleaf.
AS FEARFUL AS the circumstances have been projected, we nonetheless take it as a challenge to remain fearless, and continue the struggle towards ensuring good governance, democracy and a free press in Liberia.
AS WE CONCLUDE, let it be known that our decision to end the blackout does not in any way signal our weakness but to ensure that we have nothing against this government or want to engage in acts that will prove to Mr. Warrick and the President that we are terrorists as he branded Liberian journalists.
WE WILL CONTINUE to engage this administration constructively despite threats on our lives by the President’s chief bodyguard. The media remains steadfast, resolute and will work for peace and tranquility as had been done in the past. That is why we are calling on all journalists to hold together in the face of threats and call on the government to end impunity against the media.