Monrovia: Liberian Journalist Rodney has strongly cautioned against the wave of threats against the media in the wave of series of unearthing stories on corruption in the country by the current administration.
Journalist Rodney Sieh is the Managing Editor of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper.
The Paper recently released documentary evidence on corruption and misapplication of public resources relating to the payment of a 180k debt from the Taylor era, which has triggered some government officials’ response in a damning manner. Both Ministers of Finance and State have branded the paper’s publication as criminal and an attempt to derail the integrity of government officials and paint a bad image the current administration. “We’ll weaponize through the case to go and deal with mistruths and falsehoods in the media,” Finance Minister Samuel Tweah.
Nathaniel Mcgill stated on a Radio show that “When government ensures charges against journalists and newspapers, it’s so much in the press, but I think we have to go to court for the press people to begin to justify some of these allegations. I think Rodney Sieh, the press and the FrontPage Africa is a criminal entity bent on tarnishing the good reputation of people.”
Rodney, during his book launch title ‘Journalist on Trial’, stated that journalists need to unite and stand up for the truth in way to build the country and nurture its democracy, “if we must build this country, people need to stand up for the truth and we must not be afraid to expose what is true and journalists need to hold together because they are coming”.
His book focuses on instances of journalists being questioned on series of stories written over the period and his experience in the 2013 case with former agriculture minister Chris Toe and he was blasted with a 1.5 million label which was equivalent to spending at least 5,000 years in jail paying the money.
Rodney recaptured his memories during the Doe era when public officials were being prosecuted for corruption, something which he stated is the opposite of today’s administration “We live in a strange and contradictory society where corruption is celebrated other than in the past where it was dealt with according to the law, people seem to embrace stealing today while people were against it yesterday”.
Rodney indicated that journalists are currently being targeted with threats for exposing acts of corruption and malpractices in the public sector other than those who commit the act, which according to him amounts to media intimidation and suppression”. “It is important for us to erect a check mark because the threat in the media is growing, now the guns may be silence but the threats are more”
He rubbished some government officials’ claims that the FPA’s publications are based on falsehoods and blackmail, throwing out a challenge for prove of their claims “I am challenging anyone in this room, the country to come out and show any proof- be it text message, phone calls or emails etc. showing that I blackmailed them or whatsoever, let me say this let the government investigate anything we report”
“People lives are at stake and might lose their jobs in the next one, two or three weeks from now because they are accused of giving me information which undermines the protection of whistleblowers in this country, we must at all times keep our sources”.
Rodney revealed the release and rigorous reportage on the corruption of public officials in the coming day’s couple with documentary evidence through the FrontPage Africa newspaper. “I have given every documentary evidence to various embassies I Liberia including the British and US embassies because if tomorrow anything happens to me then the story lives on, let them wait they got a long week ahead of them with more information”, Rodney stated.