MONROVIA: The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has released its Quarterly Alert Report on Activities of Journalists in Liberia.
The Report, dated March 25, 2022, was released at the Union’s Headquarters, on 44th Clay Street, Monrovia.
The report covers the period of January and March 2022, and it is part of series of alert reports to be published for the period under review.
The Media Alert Reports are characterized by the death, threats, attack and intimidation of Liberian journalists by State Actors, non- state actors, supporters of Politicians and some members of the Public.
The Alert Reports also highlight other major issues, including critical analysis of the trend being taken by the Liberian media environment, considering the nature of space being offered by state actors for the media to function.
The current Alert Report of the Press Union of Liberia, University of Liberia and Volunteer for Sustainable Development in Africa VOSIEDA/Media Alert Office with sponsorship from the United Nations Democracy Fund, shares light on attacks, Threats, Lawsuit and intimidation of the media by individuals in the public and private sectors.
This Report contains four attacks, one brutality and two threats, on Journalist Franklin Doloque, Radio Tamba-tiakor in Foya , reporters David Nawah and Patrick T. Saah, of Voice of Liberia (VOL), Journalist Bobby M. Tingban of Hott FMF/TV, Rivercess County Journalist Oldpa Eric Dou and Journalist Rocheford T Gardiner of Radio Phoenix of Tubman University in Maryland County.
This Alert is in collaboration with VOSIEDA, UL with Sponsorship for UNDEF, as part of its Media Development Program.
According to the Report, on Saturday, February 19, 2022, Journalist Franklin Doloquee, a reporter of FrontPageAfrica and correspondent for Okay FM assigned in Nimba County, was allegedly assaulted by the county superintendent, Nelson Korquoi, while attempting to interview him to respond to reports about the filthiness of Gompa streets.
According to Doloque, Korquoi seized his two cell phones and assaulted him in the public. Doloquee provided information of his torment of the incident through his Facebook account. He also shared pictures showing bruises and cuts on his face and hand.
Doloquee, who has been reporting for FrontPageAfrica Newspaper since 2017, alleged that he was targeted while on his “journalistic duty”. Doloquee said he had gone to do a live FrontPageAfrica Facebook interview with commuters and traders on the ever-busy Gompa main streets amid complaints about the stockpile of garbage when he saw Korquoi from the opposite side of the streets and rushed to him to address himself to complaints against his administration.
Doloquee narrative: “I was interviewing traders on Gompa main streets about the filthiness of the streets despite paying fees to the city corporation when I saw the superintendent on the other side of the street and I decided to go to him for his response to the accusations brought against him by those I was interviewing,” he said.
“When I reached near them, he grabbed my collar and hit me in the face without any reason as I tried to talk to him.”
After the incident, Doloquee went to a nearby Clinic in Ganta where he received first aid treatment. He was then advised to seek further treatment.
The attack on Doloquee triggered an immediate outcry among the local journalists, who pressed the police to take action against the accused superintendent.
Journalists in the county called the assault “unacceptable and disgraceful”, urging the police to take “strict action” against the superintendent.
On March 5,2022 supporters of Nimba County District Number 4 representative, Gonpue Kargon, allegedly flogged Doloquee and took away his new Camon 18 phone in Gbor Whyeplay Town.
According to him, Several Journalists including him had gone to Gbor Whyeplay Town, District number 4 to the Ground breaking ceremony were the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill and Senator Prince Johnson were invited.
Doloque said he was standing along with his friends who were not Journalists but friends from Ganta when supporters of district number 4 representative Gonpue Kargon flogged him and took away the following items.
300 USD, Camon 18 phone, Recorder, My note book with some important documents, Power Bank and a Bluetooth
On Saturday, March 5, 2022, Radio Tamba-Tiakor in Foya Lofa County was attacked and burned by unknown individuals in Foya, Lofa County.
According to Manager Saah Pongay, the unknown individuals around 3:00 in the morning went to the Radio Station to set the facility ablaze.
The case, according to Manager Pongay, was reported to the LNP in Foya and the office of Lofa County Attorney, Luther J. Sumo .
On March 7, 2022, reporters David Nawah and Patrick T. Saah, of Voice of Liberia (VOL) were allegedly attacked by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and damaged their equipment (IPhone -8+ screen, Samsung Galaxy –S9+, extended microphone), during their reportorial duties on the grounds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Friday, March 4, 2022, a Disc Joker of Hot FM 107.9 was arrested and placed behind bars by Thomas Garwo, Jr., director of the Monrovia City Police for training near the Monrovia City Hall.
The Disc Joker complained that he was treated like a criminal – his shirt taken off and was denied of making any telephone call as well as placed in a criminal cell. He narrates; I was only able to get released when an officer who was dissatisfied with the action of Thomas Garwo allowed me to use his phone to call on the Hott Morning Live on Hott FM 107.9 to alert the world about what was ongoing. ‘Thanks to calls from highly placed individuals, I was released. However, the situation has left me traumatized’.
On March 1 2022, Journalist Bobby M. Tingban of Hottfm/tv reported an attacked on him by the head of the Infinity Millennials Liberia Company, Prince Smith, in the Board’s Farm Community while having an interview with Alex Cooper who alleged that the company exploited nine hundred and five ($905USD) United States dollars from him.
Few weeks ago, journalist Bobby M. Tingban of Hottfm/tv explained that he was informed about an alleged fake scholarship company called Infinity Millennials Liberia exploiting money from poor school going children desiring to forward their study abroad in the name of offering them scholarships.
According to Alex Copper, a resident of R2 Community one of his childhood friends, John Brooks, informed him about the scholarship company that was offering scholarship for study in Switzerland. Alex Copper said upon hearing the above information, he decided to check the office for inquiry and while in the process, he met Prince Smith who told him that he was the head of the Scholarship company.
Alex Cooper explained that Prince Smith asked him to first pay the sum of $30 USD as registration fee of which he paid and after the registration he was later asked by Prince Smith to deposit the amount of eight hundred and seventy- five United States dollars (875USD) that within two weeks’ time he will leave Liberia for study in Switzerland.
Alex Cooper said he deposited the eight hundred and seventy-five United States dollars (875USD) with payment receipt in his possession and after the payment, there has been no good response from the scholarship company as to when he and his colleagues will leave the country.
Prince Smith and myself walked to his office and I confronted him about the allegation of receiving the total of nine hundred and five United States dollars ($905USD) from Alex Cooper for scholarship to study in Switzerland, Prince Smith responded to me that “Ask the person who brought you here, don’t ask me.” Then I asked Prince Smith the second question, what business do you do here? Prince smith responded again by saying “Ask the person who brought you here”.
Upon hearing the above responses from Mr. Prince Smith, I walked down from his office trying to conduct an interview with Alex Cooper, while in the process prince Smith rushed to me down stairs with an attack and took my camera (Android phone) I was using away and up till now I cannot get my camera (Android phone) .
Saying to me “the police cannot do me anything “when I invited the police from the Mount Barclay Police station they decided to turn the case over to the Zone #5 Deport #4 police station in the Omega Market where Commander Elijah Baysah is seated as Police Commander.
The disappointing thing is those police officers at Zone #5 Deport #4 alluded to the fact that they cannot do anything to Prince Smith as he said from the onset of the arrest. Commander Elijah Baysah and Officers to be identified did not care to ask Prince Smith for my camera (Android phone).
Commander Elijah Baysah of Zone #5 Deport #4 Police station and Officers to be identified charged complainant Alex Cooper for disorderly conduct without looking at the alleged exploitation. Commander Elijah Baysah did not ask whether this scholarship company is legal or not. I’m calling on the Press Union of Liberia to launch speedy investigation into this matter. To be continued.