Appearing before a called meeting by the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Wednesday, October 2020 at the Ministry of Information following his statement, that he is been hunted by armed men over the past weeks, journalist T-Max Jlateh said he has nothing against the government, but wondered why his life should be threatened.
Amongst those at the meeting included the President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Charlies Coffey, representatives of the Inter-Religious Council, National Civil Society Council, Mr. Jlateh’s lawyer, and some journalists following allegations made by Mr. Jlateh of “threats to his life”.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Information and signed by its Minister, Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie, said Mr. Jlateh was accompanied to the gathering by his lawyers also provided his account of the “threats”, while reiterating his earlier complaint filed with the PUL – in which he alleged being alerted to pending plots against him and his family, and in some instances, being pursued by unmarked vehicles.
The radio talk-show host also said that he harbours no personal problem with the Liberian Leader President George M Weah, emphasizing that he has not personally received any threats from President Weah.
The PUL President Mr. Charles Coffey also informed the Information Ministry of incidents of threats against some journalists and asked that the Ministry intervenes to guarantee the safety of all Journalists and Media workers throughout the country
In response to these matters, Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie reassured Mr. Jlateh and the PUL that the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for the respect of the dignity of the human person, freedom of expression and a high level of political and social tolerance irrespective of views expressed and actions taken remain cardinal.
“This government is not in the business of taking people’s lives, neither interested in violating the fundamental rights of any of its citizens”, Minister Rennie reassured.
The Information Minister assured Mr. Jlateh that his concerns about “threats to his life” will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for further action.
Minister Rennie said as a journalist himself, he understands the plight of his media colleagues and will work towards improving the media landscape, but he also used the occasion to frown on incendiary language and reportage by some media outlets – saying the media and all citizens have a co-responsibility to ensure the consolidation of Liberia’s peace and democracy .
The Information Minister said he will work to ensure a regular dialogue with the PUL and Civil Society Organizations as a means of addressing differences between and amongst journalists and civil actors.