RECENTLY, IT WAS reported that a Liberian journalist, Mike Jabateh who has been covering the conflict in neighboring Guinea was arrested by Guinean authorities.
ACCORDING TO REPORT from Guinea, Journalist Jabateh who is presently in detention was expected in court on Monday but did not appear.
SOME GUINEAN OFFICIALS who were curious called the Managing Editor of The Inquirer to verify the identity of Journalist Jabateh. The INQUIRER boss confirmed that Mr. Jabateh is a journalist who is still active in the profession. However for almost two weeks, this Liberian journalist continues to be languishing in jail in neighboring Guinea without report as to how he’s coming on in prison.
WHAT IS MORE shocking is that this Liberian journalist was arrested while covering the ongoing tribal crisis in neighboring Guinea, a job any journalist would love to undertake in a bid to bring the information to a large audience who are not privileged to be in the conflict zone.
IT IS ONLY through factual reporting a craft that a journalist mastered that the large society will get to understand the circumstances that led to the genesis of the conflict. Thus we believe the detention of Journalist Jabateh is a move by the Guinean authorities to hinder free speech and press which is cardinal to an operational democracy.
IT IS ALSO shocking that since this Liberian was arrested; followed by numerous news articles announcing his detention, coupled with the confirmation by Mr. Wesseh to both the Guinean Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nothing has been heard from the Government of Liberia relative to his detention in Guinea. Sometimes silence means concern but we are of the view that the Government of Liberia must act in seeking the welfare or release of this citizen who was executing his professional duties. The GOL should also be able to inform its citizens about the situation surrounding the detention of Journalist Jabateh by using diplomatic sources and contacts.
WE ARE SURPRISED that the Liberian Government that is under oath to protect its citizens has not made a public statement on the arrest and detention of Journalist Jabateh, who is still languishing behind bars without any court trial.
WE ARE REMINDING the government to act now and ensure that justice be done to Journalist Jabateh or else this will be seen as the Government’s nonchalance attitude towards its citizens especially those who are illegally held while executing their legal duties.
IT IS IN this vein that we are appealing to the Government of Liberia to immediately intervene and seek the release of its citizen, Journalist Mike Jabateh.