In a communication filed to the National Media Council (NMC) on April 20, 2017, Freelance Journalist Joe K.S. Fineboy alleged that while carrying out his reportorial duty, Mr. Darius Dallon of the Liberty Party, alongside some security guards of the Party, physically attacked him and smashed his (Fineboy’s) tape recorder and mobile phone to the floor.
In keeping with its mandate, on October 19, 2017, the Council invited both parties (Fineboy and Dallon) at the Headquarters of the PUL for hearing into the matter. During the hearing, Journalist Fineboy explained that while returning from his reportorial duty in Brewerville, outside of Monrovia, he spotted a fleet of vehicles and motorbikes with the inscription: “Liberty Party.” Subsequently, journalist Fineboy said he stopped over at the Headquarters of the Liberty Party to inquire or interview an official of the Party regarding the source of the vehicles and motorbikes.
On arrival at the Party’s Headquarters, Journalist Fineboy claimed that he engaged Mr. Dallon for an interview, but was turned down on grounds that he (Dallon) was busied, and therefore could not grant him an audience. Journalist Fineboy furthered that upon Mr. Dallon’s refusal to grant him an interview, “I decided to use my journalistic techniques to get him to talk to me, again, he refused,” but instead, Mr. Dallon and some security guards attacked me physically, took away my smart phone which I used to take few photos of the vehicles and motorbikes, deleted all the photos and smashed my phone to the floor,” Journalist Fineboy told the Council.
The accused, Darius Dallon negated every allegation levied against him, saying “I am a friend of the media, so how can I be a friend to the media and then attack personnel of the media?,” Mr. Dallon asked. Mr. Dallon requested evidence from Journalist Fineboy to substantiate his claims.
Having carefully listened to their explanations, members of the Council crossed examined each party on a point by point basis to get facts clearer. Following the cross examination period, Journalist Fineboy suddenly requested the Council not to go further into the matter because according to him, “I have decided to withdraw my case because I know that in accordance with the 2016 revised Code of Ethics of the Press Union of Liberia, I erred during my engagement with Mr. Dallon, so I would like for the Council to harmonize between both of us to put this matter to rest,” Fineboy said.
As a result of Journalist Fineboy’s request, and in keeping with its mandate, the Council immediately mediated between both parties and asked them to shake hands as a symbol of peace.
At the same time, on October 5, 2017, the Council heard the complaint of Mrs. Lakshmi Moore of Actionaid against Journalist Boikai Fofana of Capitol FM on allegation of slander against her. Following explanations by both parties, and considering the nature of the complaint, the Council asked the opinion of the complainant (Mrs. Moore) as to whether the Council should go further into the investigation or refer the case to the Management of Capitol FM for an amicable resolution, since she had earlier complained to said management.
In response to the Council’s suggestion, Mrs. Moore communicated to the Council through its Secretariat about her decision to refer the matter to the management of Capitol FM, while the Council is closely monitoring the outcome of the matter.
The National Media Council is advising members of the Press to use the 2016 revised Code of Ethics as a guide during their reportorial duties and urges journalists to be focused, objective and serve as a catalyst in promoting peace and reconciliation especially during this critical period of our country’s history.
-Thank you –
Robert Karpeh Reeves
Coordinator, Secretariat of the National Media Council