An advertiser's supplement in the August 13th Edition of The Analyst newspaper has been at the center of contagious security suspicion both in Liberia and Ghana over the last three weeks.
The Ghanaian security, treating the supplement as a Liberian newspaper creation, has been using it to justify the harassment of Liberians seeking refuge in Ghana, especially those residing at the Budumburam Refugee Camp. Back home the National Joint Security, apparently hard pressed to avert what is happening to its nationals in a foreign land, resolved that it would impact upon the situation by holding The Analyst for publishing or even planting the supplement to cause security embarrassment as the Ghanaian believed.
But as The Analyst's Staff Writer reports, the National Joint Security has discovered that The Analyst newspaper is faultless thereby confirming long-held suspicion that the supplement is part of a regional conspiracy originating from Ghana.
The Management of The Analyst newspaper has adduced evidence against vile speculations being perpetrated by the Ghanaian government security forces that it may have created the supplement that suggested that a plot had been hatched to topple the government of President John Kuffour.
The evidence was presented yesterday during a meeting organized by the Attorney General of Liberia, Justice Minister Kabinah Ja'neh, for The Analyst editor and staff to brief the National Joint Security.
In attendance were NSA Director Freddie Taylor, Police Director Chris Massaquoi, and National Security Minister Joseph Kendar, amongst other Liberian government security top brass.
Also present as escorts and legal counsels for The Analyst's Managing Editor Stanley Seakor and News Editor Gibson W. Jerue were PUL President Terrence Sesay, Vice President Malcolm Joseph, and Finance Officer Zoker Jaynes, and counselors James Verdier and Alfred Brownell.
Upon request, Managing Editor Stanley Seakor told the meeting that the supplement was placed with the Business Office of The Analyst newspaper by Mr. Chris Krotie, press secretary to NTLA Speaker George Dweh on the evening of Wednesday August 12, 2004.
He then went on to explain circumstances surrounding the supplement: "Because of the security nature of the supplement, we made Mr. Krotie to sign it. Not satisfied, we called the Ghanaian Ambassador to Liberia to acquaint him with the content of the advertisement. He requested through an emissary and we submitted the hard original copy. More than thirty minutes later, he returned the hard copy without comment against our expectation. Shortly after that, we convened an editorial meeting to decide what to do.
During the meeting majority opinion prevailed against suggestions that the advertisement should not be published on ground that it would be against the security interest of Ghana. We felt that given Ghana's role in restoring peace and security to Liberia, any insecurity in Ghana will affect Liberians greatly.
This is how we decided to carry the advertisement. But to our surprise, the Ghanaian security started blaming us for a story we never wrote and using that as an alibi to persecute Liberians in Budumburam. We published it as an early warning to prevent damage that's all. No malice intended." Following his presentation, a number of security officials present posed questions some of which delved on subjective issues such as what should or should not have been done.
Amongst them was National Security Minister Joseph Kendar who asked, "Do you know that same supplement was taken to a newspaper before you. Do you know that the newspaper they took it to refused to publish it?" To that, Managing Editor Seakor retorted, "Oh, so the government knows about the supplement?" "I did not say so," the Minister responded.
But observers believe the minister's question has let the cat out of the bag, even though they could not say to what extent that will affect the ongoing probe and affirm the conspiracy theory being propounded by analysts.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Ja'neh has assured the PUL that the NTGL would continue to uphold and protect press freedom, pledging that government would do nothing to stop the media from doing its work.
He called on the Union to work with the local media to ensure that it manages information professionally and responsibly.
He then noted that the government was studying the security situation and would do all it could to address the security concerns of the Liberian people both at home and abroad.
The Attorney General did not however say what that would mean in terms of what is obtaining in Ghana.