Liberia: Politician’s bodyguards assault journalist

Bodyguards of Hanson Kiazolu, a member of Liberia’s opposition Unity Party, physically assaulted journalist, Winston Blyden, as he was covering daily legislative proceedings in Monrovia.

Blyden, a producer and director with the privately owned broadcaster Bana FM, received treatment for scratches on his head and pains in his back and shoulders following the wanton assault. His phone and money, which were  stolen during the June 6, 2023 attack however, have not been recovered.

The bodyguards beat Blyden after their boss, Kiazolu, accosted the journalist of repeatedly “bad-mouthing” him and other Unity Party members.

The incident caused outrage and indignation the country. The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) denounced the flogging of Blyden as antidemocratic and an act of extreme cruelty. According to the union, the politician failed in his leadership role when he confronted the journalist in a hostile manner and incited his bodyguards to violence.

The day after the incident, members of parliament from the ruling party, Coalition for Democratic Change, offered financial support to the journalist to cover the costs of his medication.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the brazen assault on journalist Winston Blyden, and calls on the Liberian authorities to speed up the promised investigations in order to bring the perpetrator to book.  We also condemn the action of the Hanson Kiazolu for inciting the attack on the journalist, and urge the leadership of his party to publicly show their abhorrence of the lawmaker and member of their party.

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