Information Minister Lewis Brown has termed as “reckless and irresponsible” media reports that the Government of Liberia has opened an embassy in Lebanon through which members of the Islamist militant group Hezbollah are gaining access to Liberian passports.
Brown said such report is unfounded and has grave national security implications that will not be taken lightly by the Government and people of Liberia.
Hezbollah – translated as “Party of Allah, or Party of God” – is a radical Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon, consisting of a paramilitary wing that has been involved in subversive activities in its fight against Israel and the West.
The Information Minister observed that reports linking Liberia to such group also has the tendency to cast doubt on Liberian citizens, as passport holders will be scrutinized and looked at with the highest degree of suspicion during every step of their travels.
Speaking Tuesday at the Ministry of Information regular press conference in Monrovia, the Government Chief Spokesman warned publishers of such unethical reports to desist from acts that undermine government’s commitment to uphold freedom of speech and of the press.
“We cannot continue to vilify the image of our country in the name of freedom of expression; to many such reports seem too simple, but it appears to be determined to bring the country down, and we will not permit this to happen,” Brown stated.
The minister also stressed that it is the government’s duty to protect the people as well as uphold the sanctity of the nation and as such it will do all it can to uphold such duty to the people.
It can be recalled that Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson recently entreated media practitioners to always uphold the fundamental principles of ethical journalism, and deal with what constitutes the facts rather than engage in abuse of and attacks on personalities.