The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has commended Liberia’s President, George Weah, for his recent suspension of the Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Eugene Fahngon, in the wake of his last social media congau-country rhetoric.
ALJA thanked President Weah for the swift disciplinary action. In a press release issued on May 9, 2019, the Association described the President’s intervention as a laudable action, which would help in calming down the prevailing political tension in the country.
However, ALJA is calling on Mr. Weah to further his punitive action against the suspended Deputy Minister by dismissing him from government with immediate effect. The Association asserts Mr. Fahngon is misplaced at the Information Ministry; and he is not a government material.
Moreover, the Association maintained Mr. Fahngon lacks the pedigree for the sacred post he occupies at the Information Ministry. ALJA said at a critical time like this when Liberians are fixated on peace building and national development after a prolonged civil conflict that decimated the lives of more than 250 thousand people and millions of dollars’ worth of properties, they don’t need a deputy minister, whose repeated actions and pronouncements sought to polarize them along a so-called congau-country divide.
The Association said since Mr. Fahngon’s appointment by President Weah to the position of Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs at MICAT over a year ago, he has gained notoriety at home and abroad for divisiveness and arrogance in the propagation of public information.
ALJA said before his indefinite suspension, Mr. Fahngon persistently spewed incendiary messages via social media and other media outlets targeted at perceived enemies of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government because they expressed opposing views about some of the administration’s social and economic policies.
ALJA cited the suspended Deputy Information Minister’s latest verbal assault on the planners of the June 7, 2019, street protest and his so-called congau-country rhetoric, which sought to divide Liberians as some of the many graphic examples of his conflict-ridden messages.
The Americas based journalists said the cited incidents and others have over the months shown that Mr. Fahngon has little or no clue about his job duties and responsibilities at the Information Ministry.
The Association said as Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Fahngon’s foremost responsibilities are to build and consolidate a cordial tie with the Liberian media; and project a positive image of the Liberian government at home and abroad by highlighting the government’s development programs and policies with the sole purpose of sustaining Liberia’s fragile peace, but unfortunately the indefinitely suspended Deputy Minister wasted the Liberian tax payers’ work hours by engaging in acts that tend to undermine the peace and stability of the country.
ALJA said Mr. Fahngon’s immediate dismissal would set a good precedent; and it would further demonstrate to Liberians and the international community that the Weah administration is serious about the building and sustenance of a cohesive and wholesome society for where all Liberians regardless of political, economic and social dispensations would work and live in peace and happiness. Moreover, ALJA maintained such action would go a long way in curtailing the unbridled propagation of hate messages by some CDC executives and insiders of the Weah administration.
Meanwhile, the Association has hailed President Weah’s recently issued executive order, which directs all ministers, deputies and assistant ministers, and heads of agencies and commissions, and their deputies to refrain from making public pronouncements on policy issues of national concern on both conventional and social media without prior authorization from the appropriate authorities of government, mainly the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism.
ALJA says it welcomes the Executive Order, because if adhered to, it would help significantly in reducing the prevailing publicity nightmares the Liberian government is grappling with in the delivery and presentation of public information due to the lack of coordination amongst public officials.
The New Republic Newspaper is an independent newspaper established in 2009 by a Liberian journalist, Alphonso Toweh with many years of experience for the key purpose of reporting a balanced coverage of events as well as promoting Liberia’s image locally and internationally.
Toweh has been working for Reuters News Agency as its correspondent since 1998 to present. In addition to that, he has served as correspondents for the following magazines: West Africa New African, Africa Week and African Observer.
More to that, he worked for Radio Deutche Welle radio in Germany, Radio Netherlands and contributed to CNN, BBC News hour, BBC TV as well as Africa Confidential and Sunday Times in London.
The paper has no political affiliation nor ethic lineage. The focus and primary commitment is to ensure the sovereignty of Liberia and unity for Africa. It seeks to foster human rights and freedom of the press.
The New Republic is a liberal paper dedicated to upholding the tenets of democracy. It believes that state can not only create the political, social, economic and cultural spirit, but also to ensure that all human beings, irrespective of any affiliation is able to achieve its highest human potentials.
The paper strives for free speech and equal opportunity for all. Importantly, it believes that the nation must intervene judiciously in the economic life, in order to minimise the adverse effects of free enterprise and ensure that less privileged people have reasonable and fair access to the basic necessities of life. By this, it would help reduce some level of threat.
New Republic brings huge commitment to its readers and offers the nation the type of media that will advocate for the people and nudge our nation on the path of development and social re-engineering