(Monrovia, April 5, 2018)- President George M. Weah’s continuing silence on his recent outburst against BBC Liberia correspondent Jonathan Paye-Layleh, accusing him of undercutting his (President Weah’s) fight for human rights in Liberia has forced the journalist to leave Liberia.
Mr. Paye- Layleh confirmed to the Press Union that he is out of the country. “My absence from Liberia at the moment is a combination of both a health check trip I had planned and the compelling need to get and stay out of the country for some time in the wake of the situation”.
“But even if the option will be deciding finally to settle somewhere outside of Liberia until my safety is guaranteed in the form of asylum, God willing, I will come back to my family to help with the making of that decision”.
During a meeting of Media Executives Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Monrovia, media leaders alarmed the disturbing tread threats, intimidations and harassments of journalists has taken recently in Liberia.
The Thursday March 22 comments of President Weah and the attending clarifications from the Presidency have left the media community in Liberia susceptible to threats, intimidations and harassments from officials of government and ordinary members of the Coalition for Democratic Change.
President Weah had accused journalist Paye-Layleh of being against him and his work for human rights in Liberia. Weah won Liberia’s election by more than 61 per cent of the total vote cast during a runoff polls in the 2017 elections.
Before the President’s comment, different officials of the Weah Government had intensified their collective rage against the Media in Liberia.
The Leaders urged the Press Union to continuously asked for a meticulous step by step fact which can explain when, where, why, what and how Jonathan Paye-Layleh injured the President’s work for human rights in Liberia.
It will also satisfy the Liberian Journalism Community were you (Mr. President) to include in your explanation to the world, evidence that will back claims of Jonathan depicting a positive image of the carnage of the Liberian Civil War during his coverage, the editors and managers stressed.
The media executives asserted that the President’s prolong silence on the unprovoked slam on journalist Paye-Layleh can coward journalists into self- censorship considering the popularity of President Weah.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Media Leaders informed the PUL to alert the world that media in Liberia is returning to the dark era of dictatorship during President Taylor’s rule. Media Institutions are barely surviving because of low activities in the national economy couple with intentions to strangulate the media through the withholding of adverts by some officials.
With the departure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, the Government is the biggest player in the media economy.
Moreover, the Press Union of Liberia is urging all journalists and media institutions to remain professional in fearlessly reporting Liberia for the good of the state and its people.
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