A Need To Intervene

ON AUGUST 23, 2013, the Managing Editor of the INQUIRER Newspaper, Mr. Philip N. Wesseh, celebrated thirty unbroken years of service as a career journalist at a Thanksgiving Service held at the Trinity United Methodist Church in the Borough of New Kru Town. The celebration brought together friends, family members, journalists, government officials and well wishers.

ALTHOUGH SPEAKERS AT the ceremony spoke well of Mr. Wesseh’s professional conduct over the years, a former Minister of Information Mr. Reginald Goodridge after praising and wishing the INQUIRER Editor well in his professional sojourn also used the occasion to drive home some important points relative to the current imprisonment of FrontPageAfrica Newspaper Editor, Mr. Rodney Sieh.  Mr. Sieh was jailed last Wednesday as a result of a libel suit brought against his paper by former Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe for which Mr. Sieh was held liable and asked to pay a damage of US$1.5m by the Civil Law Court.

AT THE CEREMONY, Mr. Goodridge pleaded with the media and its leadership that in the process of reconciliation, they should prevail on journalist Rodney Sieh to apologize to former Minister Chris Toe for the situation that led him to prison, while on the other hand they should also prevail on Dr. Chris Toe to have pity on journalist Sieh and ensure that they resolve their differences. Mr. Goodridge reiterated that to foster reconciliation journalist Sieh should exercise remorse of conscience and apologize to former Minister Toe and Toe on the other hand should be able to forgive the journalist.

WE BELIEVE THAT former Information Minister’s stance on this issue is a welcome one which every peace loving and well meaning Liberians should embrace because the continuous imprisonment of Rodney Sieh is bad since its is no secret that even if all media institutions in the country intend to rally funds for his release they cannot raise US$1.5m from their coffers. Thus we believe Mr. Goodridge’s suggestion is the only way out of this situation.

WHILE THERE ARE serious discussions behind the curtains for the amicable resolution of this situation at both journalistic and other levels, we think our colleague who is at the center of this case should seriously exercise remorse and say sorry to Dr. Toe. After all it is not counter-productive for a journalist to admit wrong and correct that wrong. Besides, journalists being decent people should also be able to respect the laws of the land and institutions that are put in place to regulate human existence. After all to say sorry and doing away with biases is not a sign of weakness but a strong sign of strength.

THUS WE JOIN the former Information Minister by extending such a call to influential media leaders including the veteran journalist Kenneth Y. Best who is an uncle of Journalist Sieh, politicians, legal practitioners and religious leaders to broaden this behind the curtain’s discussions in a bid to have Mr. Sieh released. Indeed, there is a need to seriously intervene in this matter.