Organised Movement In Liberia Condemns Government Crackdown On Media

Following the closure of Front Page Africa Newspaper in Liberia, Movement for Social Democratic Alternative, MOSODA has accused Weah-led government of launching an assault on free speech and the right of the people to know.

In a statement made available to AFRICA PRIME NEWS, Chairman and Secretary General of the movement, Leon Talery and Alfred Kiadii, reminded the government that press freedom in Liberia did not come on a silver plateau saying, it took the blood and sweat of martyr compatriots to reach thus far.

The movement told the Coalition for Democratic Change-led government that the vanguard elements of the media and the mass of the people would neither be silenced nor be cowed into submission .

MOSODA also frowned at what it called concentration of capital and monopolisation of the instruments of production in the hands of a negligible minority at the expense of the masses.



The Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA) extends hearty revolutionary salutations to the Mass of the People, the Domestic Workers, the Petrol Attendants, the Working Poor, the Peasant Masses, the Patriotic Professionals, and the Working Poor of Liberia— most of whom live in the cesspool of poverty and on the margins of society as a result of the concentration of capital and the monopolization of the instruments of production in the hands of a negligible minority, which uses said instruments to further their own interests and for their own benefits.

Overtime this Movement has rightfully situated itself as a leading force and consummate fortress for the radiation of progressive consciousness in every oppressed layer of our society. In a country in which the consciousness of the people is low, it is through the uncompromising activities of our great Organization that the people are seeing the putridity and bankruptcy of this nascent administration that strives on vain populism and vulgar demagoguery.

In recent times, this Organization has followed with keen interest the spiteful campaign of slander launched by the most reckless and reactionary layer of the Coalition for Democratic Change-led government against media institutions that refused to approve with its stories the open looting and reckless mismanagement of the state. Against this reality, an all-out war has been declared by the rotten ruling clique, in alliance with its intellectual prostitutes and street thugs, against progressive media institutions and elements that report the facts and interrupt information to the Liberian people about the wholesale mismanagement of the state.

One such outlet which has come under the most vulgar indignation of the CDC-led government is the Front Page Africa Newspaper, a paper which was once the best thing to ever happen to Liberia when this Coalition which presides over the state was in the wilderness of opposition, but today they have rescinded their words. And have subjected the paper to incessant attack of the most callous form. The salvo of platitudes against the paper and journalist Jonathan Pay-layleh is reminiscent of the heydays of the Liberian civil war when being a journalist was akin to suicide.

Of late this Movement has seen the troubling preponderance of tirades directed at media institutions, for being critical of the CDC-led government, some CDCIANs have charged those institutions with the predictable and recycled argument of extortion, which is an insipid counter that exposed the

collective hysteria that runs amok in the government. In fact, their counter is so shallow that it exposed the intellectual rottenness of the CDC. MOSODA wonders whether they could not have issued a better rebuttal than the cliché they disgorged, which is akin to street thugs and demagogic charlatans.

Yesterday, CDCIANS who condemned the paper sang its praises and inundated it with glorious epithets when it stood up against the reactionary Sirleaf-led government. It stood his ground and published critical stories on the government. When it was sued by Chris Toe, the reactionary chauvinists of the CDC used the occasion as an opportunity to not only garner political capital but also call into question the free speech credentials of the erstwhile leadership. They bombarded social media and the mainstream media with solidarity statements, calling on Chris Toe to abandon the case, which progressive elements of this Movement also supported, as they thought that an attack on the publisher was an attack on all conscious persons.

Today, the open vilification of the paper and its publisher is not worth the papers it is printed on. A bundle of incoherent absurdities about the latter wanting to get funds from the government is a predictable recycled gibberish which has often being pinned on critical minds who refused to endorse the open looting of the state by reactionary chauvinists who see the state as a casino. Their regular lines about racketeering is the most ridiculous public relation counter this Movement has ever seen. From the kingpins to the least midgets of the CDC, they recite such vile refrain like toddlers preparing for a Sunday school program.

Fast forward, days after the childish outburst of Jefferson Koijee against the newspaper and its owner, Rodney Sieh, the CDC-led government has heightened its crackdown on free speech and against the outlet. It has been followed by the vulgar circulation of messages on social media from a bogus account, allegedly the account of the Publisher in conversation with Amara M. Konneh—a conversation in which the former was asked by the later to heighten his attack on the government in return for huge cash reward. Following that, comes a private law suit against the paper by an element who contested on the ticket of the Coalition (Bomi County, District # 2) in the just ended 2017 legislative and presidential elections, in a somewhat desperate attempt to shut down the paper.

MOSODA categorically states that from the chronological sequence of events, it is absolutely correct to conclude that the legal suit against the paper is a state-sponsored gimmick meant to use loopholes in the rule of law, or make pliant subordinates at the court to silence the paper. However, this tactic is not strange to us, as erstwhile leaderships of this bourgeois state have used similar trend to silence the free press. This Organization is quite aware that the rule of law and the state have always been used as instruments of violence by the exploiting class against the exploiters layers of society. The hollow argument that the state is above society is a bourgeois gibberish which has been falsified by events and history. And the current unfolding between the state and the Front Page Africa Newspaper has confirmed our claim.

It is sad that the CDC-led government has gone full cycle in its assault on free speech and on the right of the people to know. This government has played all hands in this crackdown—using both direct purge (in the case of Alfred Cheeks and journalist Jonathan Pay-layleh) and sponsoring proxy agents (in the case of Front Page Africa Newspaper) to deal a mortal blow to anybody who wants to hold it to account for its stewardship of the state. And these attacks are not isolated instances, but they are part of the wider skullduggery of the state to ruthlessly crush dissenting voices in the homeland.

MOSODA wants to remind this blunder galore of a government that history has past the era in which free speech and the progressive media will be silenced by the administration of a clueless vagabond and lousy clown. The vanguard elements of the media and the masses of the people will never be cowed into submission. Press freedom in Liberia did not come on a silver plateau, it took the blood and sweat of martyr compatriots to reach thus far.

Under their blood and sweat, the battle against all forms of oppression will be waged.

Nobody needs to tell the Liberian people that the Weah-led government is a political farce. The Liberian people do not need to be told by Front Page Africa Newspaper and the progressive press that this regime is a blunder galore. Nobody needs to be told by the paper that the Weah-led regime has placed mediocrity at the height of its policy of appointment and employment in the public bureaucracy. Nobody needs to be lectured by the paper about the rising tide of nepotism in the current administration. Nobody needs to be told that the deafening slogan of pro-poor parroted by the henchmen of this regime is not supported by any official policy document.

Make no mistake, freedom was never gifted to the Liberian media. It fought for it at the peril of its existence. The war drum the Liberian government is beating will consume it, as the Liberian media is battle-tested and overly resolved to bring the unadulterated news to the masses of the people. The media makes no news, it reports the fact and analyzes the situations in the homeland to the people.

Signed: _______________________

Alfred P. B. Kiadii, Secretary General

Approved: _____________________

Leon M. Talery, Chairman


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