LIBERIA: PUL speaks On Journalist Browne’s Assertion
The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) would like to address the recent comments made by veteran journalist Philipbert S. Brown, the Publisher of the Hott Paper Newspaper, regarding alleged election interference in Liberia.
Mr. Brown has expressed his opinions on social media platforms, specifically Facebook, suggesting that the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and Western nations may have influenced past election outcomes in Liberia. It is important to note that Mr. Brown has not provided any concrete evidence to support these claims.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the PUL emphasized the importance of responsible conduct of journalists, both offline and online. Journalists are expected to maintain the same ethical standards online as they do in traditional newsrooms.
While Mr. Brown’s comments have garnered attention due to its full blown nature, the PUL believes that they have the potential to cast doubt on the credibility of Liberia’s valued partners in ECOWAS and the West.
Mr. Brown’s social media posts include statements such as, “We lived to bear witness, how ECOWAS and the West, twice over-turned the presidential elections in favor of the Unity Party EJS & JNB. Did George Weah start a civil war?” Additionally, he asserted that, “At that time, we stood with ECOWAS s and the West decision because Weah was not prepared to lead a country coming out of a civil war.”
Regarding the 2017 election, Mr. Brown commented that, “If President Sirleaf had not declined, there was a perception that ECOWAS and Western leaders were inclined to favor the Unity Party for a third term.”
The PUL encourages open and respectful dialogue on matters concerning the upcoming elections and international partnerships.
‘‘We also urge all individuals, including journalists, to exercise caution when sharing opinions, ensure that their statements, reporting and articles are supported by verifiable evidence. The Union disclosed the importance of upholding a productive and trustworthy conversation that serves the interests of our nation and its alliances.’’
Journalist Browne informed the PUL that he was threatened by an unidentified member of the opposition in the presence of Arthur Massaquoi and Bochubent Keita affiliate of the Unity Party at a local bar in oldest Congo Town on September 24, 2023.
Mr. Browne stated that he had attempted to pass through a roadblock that had been set up due to Hon. Yekeh Kolubah’s campaign launch. However, he was intercepted by Massaquoi and Keita to discuss the positioning of the Unity Party in the Hott Pepper. Out of nowhere, the unidentified man shouted, ‘Let’s beat this man because he is arguing.’