Monrovia, Liberia- Hon. Solomon George who represents Montserrado County District 7, has threatened to beat two journalists who cover the Liberian Legislature, for what he termed as ‘negative media reporting’.
Before the start of session Monday, Representative George engaging Musa Kanneh of Truth FM, who is also President of the Legislative Press Pool, was seen being restrained by officers assigned at the Legislature, after attempting to put his statement into action.
“This man, I will make sure this Musa Kanneh man, I will flog him. He said that we are useless, and I will make sure he is flogged,” the District number 7 lawmaker said.
Representative George said, Mr. Kanneh called the legislature ‘useless’ during a radio presentation on Monday, and transmitted his anger to Fabric Radio Trogen Kiazolu after journalist Kiazolu made an inquiry about the threat.
Meanwhile, Journalist Musa Kanneh refuted Hon. George’s claim that he called the legislature a useless body. He said, Rep. George misquoted him, as he correctly opined that the Lower House as a body is not ready to fight corruption.
“When Rep. George entered the joint chambers, he threatened right away that he was going to call five men to flog me. He said he was going to call guys to beat me up. He immediately walked outside the chambers insisting that he was going for his five men.”
“I don’t know what happened out, he came back to the joint chambers, and went to the Speaker, informing the Speaker that he was going out to order my flogging. I don’t know what the Speaker said to him, he walked back to me, threatening that he was going to beat me up,” Journalist Kanneh said.
Journalists assigned at the Liberian Legislature were seen disgusted over Rep. Geroge’s action and termed it as an attack on free press.
“These government officials need to understand that we have passed those days of tyrannical rule. We are in the era of true democracy. Even if a journalist says the Lower House is useless, does that give Rep. George or any official of government the right to attempt to engage that person in a physical scuffle? This is wrong on all fronts and we will not allow anyone to intimidate us for our reporting and opinions. We will stand up against this,” a local journalist said.
Efforts by The Liberian Billboard to reach the chair of the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives proved futile. In the meantime, The Liberian Billboard as a media institution detests any attack against journalists in and out of Liberia by any person.