The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is deeply concerned about the alleged plot to assassinate Philipbert Brown, Publisher of the Hot Pepper Newspaper in Liberia, and urges the Government to ensure the journalist’s protection and thorough investigations into the allegations.
On October 23, 2019, Brown appeared on Sky FM’s morning Talk Show 50-50 to raise the alarm about being stalked, allegedly by Emmanuel Shaw, Liberia’s Minister for Finance and economic advisor to President Weah. The journalist says he has been warned that seven Burkinabe nationals have been brought into Liberia to murder him.
“I was called by a Security Personnel on Friday while in Doha/Qatar not to come home as there are plans to have me assassinated by some foreigners brought into the country,” Brown told the host of the 5050 radio talk show.
Brown added that when he arrived home and went to his office, his office assistant also informed him that an Executive Protective Service (EPS) operative had visited his office to leave a message that he should be warned not to be in the streets because there are people in town to have him killed.
Philipbert Brown, a critical journalist credited with breaking the news about the controversial “Missing 16 Billion Liberian dollars” said the Minister has been pestering a colleague journalist to reveal his (Brown’s) house.
“Shaw asked him [the unnamed journalist] repeatedly for my house and if he knew of my girlfriend’s house. When the journalist asked Shaw why the interest in Mr. Brown residence, Shaw responded that he had to get rid of me at all cost,” said Brown narrated.
There has been no official response from the office of Emmanuel Shaw.
The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP), the MFWA’s partner organisation in Liberia, has described the allegations as serious and called on the Liberian National Police to guarantee the safety of journalist Brown in the wake of the alleged threat on his life.
“The Government of Liberia is under obligation to ensure that the alleged assassination plan against Journalists Brown is investigated and if authenticated, perpetrators should be brought to justice,” CEMESP Executive Director, Malcolm Joseph said.
The MFWA is equally concerned about the alleged threat and calls on the state to ensure the journalist’s protection and thorough investigations into the allegations.