MONROVIA – The Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia (CSO Platform) has condemned Freedom FM broadcast for attempting to politicize the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL); and that the broadcast was ill-intentioned, malicious and intended to put the army against the people of Liberia.
Freedom FM is owned by the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Mr. Sam Siryon.
Last week, the pro-government Freedom FM controversial broadcast implicated the Army Chief of Staff as an operative of opposition Unity Party standard bearer, Joseph Boakai.
During the talk show, Mr. Abraham Godsent Wheon, manager of Freedom FM insinuated that members of the Armed Forces did not vote for Pres. George Weah in the October 10 presidential elections due to the ill-treatment they had been getting from the Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Prince C. Johnson, III.
According to Wheon, he has a stockpile of information on activities happening in the barracks including the decommissioning of over 20 officers by Maj. Gen. Johnson, adding that he was also aware that the army chief is a supporter of Mr. Joseph Boakai.
Following the broadcast, Mr. Sam Siryon was taken into custody by the Armed Forces of Liberia on Thursday for the controversial broadcast on his FM station, which implicated the Army Chief of Staff as an operative of opposition leader Joseph Boakai.
However, the CSO Platform in a statement issued today through its National Secretary General, Adama K. Dempster pointed out that Sections 8.2 and 8.3 of the National Defense Act of 2008 outlines that the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) shall at all times perform their duties in accordance with democratic values and human rights, non-partisan approach to duty and in ways that command citizens respect and confidence and contribute toward maintaining and promoting the rule of law; that the AFL shall remain politically neutral, shall not join, support or participate in the activities of any political party or similar organization.
The CSO further stated that Mr. Wheon’s comments were inflammatory and inciteful and that Wheon’s comments very troubling since Freedom FM is owned by the Deputy NSA Director Sam Siryon, who the CSO Platform said a staunch supporter of President Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) which makes the comments of Mr. Wheon believable.
“This action goes far beyond the tenets of journalism which seeks societal good and violates the National Defense Act of 2008,” the statement stated.
The CSO Platform’s statement continued that, “The human rights community / CSO-Platform cautions all journalists and Liberians that the 20 years of peace Liberians celebrated in August must not be shortchanged for the selfish interest of few in the society.”
“The human rights community, civil society further encourage the Armed Forces of Liberia AFL to remain a force good at all times,” the statement concluded