The world Press Freedom Day which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference is observe on the 3rd of May each year appreciating journalists around the world for the tireless professional services to inform, educate and entertain their many listeners, readers and viewers.
As Liberians remembered their favorite television journalists, the name Charles Gbeyon will forever be remembered due to the passion he had doing his job professionally still remains visible in the hearts and minds of his many admirers, especially those who viewed him on the Liberia national television, the ELTV Action News are still wondering as to why he had to be killed allegedly during the military rule of the late President Samuel K. Doe regime.
This renowned television journalist was murdered in 1985 in Monrovia while performing his reportorial during the failed coup of General Thomas Quiwonkpa, due to his passion for the journalism profession, ‘Charlie’ as he was affectionately called by many of peers and his workmates thought he was following a breaking news on that fateful day of November 12, after it was announced that President Doe who was reported to have been dethroned that early morning of November 12 by his ex-commanding general had resurfaced at the Executive Mansion some hours.
At about 1pm that day, Gbeyon in a very emotional mood, walked to the Ministry of Information amid all eyes on him emotionally walked upstairs to take hold of his TV Camera as many of his colleagues who stood downstairs begin to wonder as to where he was heading to with his camera; he made all efforts to prevail on his colleagues to join him for what he called an ‘Exclusive Interview’ with the President at the Executive Mansion.
Many of his colleagues including me who did not know that it was his last speech to us stood downstairs as he rushed towards the Executive Mansion leaving the compound of the Ministry of Information with his TV Camera, little did we know that his departure from the Ministry would have taken his life; few hours later it was gathered that our colleagues (Gbeyon) lifeless body was taken to his workplace in a pickup.
Can you imagine how this professional Liberian journalist was manhandled and maybe tortured by armed men at the Executive Mansion; many of us who heard that he was murdered could not withhold our tears, wondering as to what crime he committed that led to his untimely and brutal death.
As Liberians remembered his days 37 years ago as their favorite TV Newscaster with ELTV, tears begin to soaked in many of those who were interviewed eyes again questioning the doers as to what did he do to warrant his life to be brutally taken away. I personally missed this great Liberian journalist who forgo his life for being a passionate journalist who always wanted to bring credible news and information.
REST IN PEACE BROTHER!
Written by Joel Cholo Brooks