By: Nathan P. Charles|
“ This is the road that leads to dictatorship, The Solicitor General cannot , should not, and must not execute what he just said about media closure in that press conference ”.Joe Mason said .
Slowly uttering his words, when he spoke live on KMTV-USA Wednesday , the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas President, Joe Mason, condemned statement from Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas, that government will go after media houses, seized their properties when they report what he calls “fake news.”
He said comments from Cllr. Cephas clearly suggest dictatorship and media censorship .
Mason said its a clear fact that Liberia is under state of emergency due to COVID-19 but that doesn’t give the government the power to muzzle the media and put the living condition of journalists at risk.
Said Mr. Mason “ He even went a step further, that the government will hunt Liberians who are on social media promoting fake news.”
The ALJA President said, the Solicitor General, has taken up the mental unto himself the power to arrest Liberians, “the man is arrogating unto himself the powers to arrest Liberians , the power to close down media institutions without any recourse , this is a road that leads to dictatorship.”
He said ALJA will not condone irresponsible reporting from any media institutions but such utterance from the SG might just be a threat and not implemented .
“Let me say this as well, we don’t condone irresponsible reporting , we continue to called on our colleagues to counter check their stories as much as possible, but there will be mistake and they will get it wrong some times,” Joe Mason noted .
According to him, for the SG knowing the importance of the media in the fight against CIOVID-19, he will now divert his attention to policing social media, threatening to closed down radio stations and seized their properties something he believes must be rebuked .
He said the constitution has not been suspended and argued that the National Legislature and Judiciary are operating and as such issues with the media must be deal with in a civilized and legal manner.
Weah’s COVID-19 Test:
“ No one person set a better example than the President , giving the fact that the President was in close proximity with some of his top ministers who are now infected , I think is now important for the President himself get tested.” Joe said.
He said comments from the President Press Secretary and the Minister for State is not healthy for the fight against COVID-19 in Liberia.
The ALJA boss said President Weah will set a shining example for all Liberians to get tested when they come in contact with confirmed COVID-19 persons .
He advised the President to get tested and that the country needs him well, “Doing the test will alleviate the fear that people have that the President has the virus, let him go do his test.”
ALJA COVID-19 Project:
In another development, the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has formally launched the ALJA Covid-19 fund drive to assist the needy and aid efforts at combating the spread of the Coronavirus in Liberia.
The ALJA President said at a well-attended teleconference held on Sunday, April 19, 2020, the Association’s membership resolved to voluntarily contribute financial resources to the COVID-19 fight and called on friends and supporters of the Association to partner with ALJA in a collective effort to beat back the spread of the virus in Liberia.