The Perspective to Launch Newsmagazine in Liberia soon
By Josephus Moses Gray
August 4, 2004
A pro-democracy group in Monrovia, the Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE) recently held a welcome reception for the Managing Editor of The Perspective newsmagazine, Mr. George Nubo, during his three-week assessment tour in the Liberian capital at their Ashmun Street offices.
In his remarks, Mr. Nubo spoke of the mission The Perspective newsmagazine has assigned itself since its founding, which is to focus attention on the democratic governance, accountability and other major political and cultural issues affecting the Liberia and Africa as well as pointing out issues dealing with our difficult transition from war to peace and the attending symptoms of a failed state.
The Managing Editor of The Perspective added: “I am of the belief that many of you have read either our print or online edition or both, but have not been able to put a face on any of those behind The Perspective”, he added and continued “there are probably some among us today who have not read our work, but simply heard about us from friends, saying “through the invitation from CEDE, we are here to share the story of The Perspective with you.
”In 1996, as terror was being administered to our people in Monrovia, as fellow Liberians on a leaking boat (buck challenge) were being asked not to disembark by African nations (including nations that paved the way for Mr. Taylor to launch his attack on Liberia or nations that were used as conduits for his war machine), three Liberians (Siahyonkron Nyanseor, Abraham Williams, and I) started a discussion about what we could do to help”.
Explaining further, Mr. Nubo said, “we realized then as now that our story or stories about third world countries were not given prominence in the international media and added that after several phone conversations, we gathered in Smyrna, Georgia on June 12, 1996, to finalize their discussion."
He told the gathering that the hallmark of the June 12, 1996, meeting is what is now known as The Perspective and that they decided to undertake this national cause in a bid to analyze the root causes of Liberian predicament, to arouse the attention of the international community to the rigor of our plight, expose the then prevailing anarchy in the country and those who were terrorizing the hapless Liberian people.
Besides, he said the newsmagazine has created a medium through which Liberians in the Diaspora and at home would freely debate Liberia, covered areas beyond the reach of the independent press in Liberia due to fear of being harassed or eliminated.
He gave thanks to the Internet - and the international community which he said was ready to listen to their story, adding that “the international community listened when we carried an investigative story on OTC; the first article on OTC in the international press, they listened when we unearthed fraudulent practices by Taylor government officials and Greater Diamond.” He said that some of the articles on Greater Diamond carried by The Perspective helped the USA government in its case against Greater Ministries, the parent company of Greater Diamond
The newsmagazine, he said, received furry of calls and e-mails when it carried stories on “The Strategic Commodity Act” that gave Mr. Taylor absolute power over Liberian timber. He also noted that stories on terror perpetrated by Mr. Taylor, his link with RUF, and corruption in his government became fixture in The Perspective.
Additionally, he said, they were there to cover the death of Sam Dokie and family, the disappearance of Noah Flomo, the Camp Johnson Massacre, assault on human rights defenders and the clampdown on the press. “These are just a few examples of the thousands of articles that are available at the site”, he noted
According to him, major publications and organizations around the world began to contact or consult us: CNN, BBC, Washington Post, LA Times, Financial Times, Tampa Tribune, UN Panels of Experts, Global Witness, Green Peace, Amnesty International, just to name a few. In short, this project has now become an authoritative resource and a standard.
He told the audience that those who intend to send articles to The Perspective for consideration should send the articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org but noted that syndicated articles are not prioritized, adding that “ we require that you include your real name, mailing address and phone number.”
As good as this initiative may sound, it could not be without threats, he indicated, saying that the Taylor forces were at work; threatening us because they perceived us as national security threat. He said those who started the publication and their partners who were exposing the Taylor regime through articles could not come to Liberia.
”But thanks to the international community”, Mr. Nubo said in a friendly mood, adding that “I am back home due to the Accra Peace Agreement. Though, it feels good to be back home I am still in shock due to the level of destruction I see.”
He said that he still could not comprehend why we have destroyed our country to this level. Nations fight to defend their people and countries, but we went to war to kill our people and destroy our nation. I have not seen anything like this before. Nothing works in what we call our capital.
”As I told the congregation of New Hope United Methodist Church in Monrovia, if the airplane that brought me to Liberia had landed me in Central Monrovia, I would have thought that it had mistakenly landed me in a big village; the only capital in the world without running water or electricity. People who were doing well yesterday through earnest work,have now been reduced to beggars”, Mr. Nubo added.
Although during the Taylor regime, Mr. Nubo said, The Perspective was seen by the international community as a voice of the Liberian opposition, it is not supported by any Liberian political figure or political party, neither are we financed by any organization. From our sweat, we run the publication.
”However, in order for the publication to grow, we intend to seek helping hand from some international institutions especially so for our operation in the country.
”Our trip to Monrovia is an assessment tour”, he indicated and explained that the group intend to launch a hard copy magazine very soon in Liberia, adding "So that people will know that there are thousands of Liberians who are on their side, who are already at work; combating the ills of our society. We want for our articles that were read under cover, in restrooms to be read in the open.
”Our work will not evaporate with the departure of Taylor, our work has just begun. We will keep the feet of the government not only to the fire but in the fire. I have heard thousands of stories about corruption, corruption being committed with impunity.”
Speaking on his assessment tour of the capital, Mr. Nubo said the infrastructure and the people have been destroyed while no attention is paid to rebuilding the country and its people. "It will take a miracle to take us out of this mess."
Commenting on other issues, he said the Liberian Press needs to redouble its efforts and begin to create some credibility for itself.
In a brief remark, the Program associate director of CEDE, Mr. Urias T. Pour lauded the Managing Editor of The Perspective for returning home to assess the situation on the ground, a visit he said will afford Mr. Nubo the opportunity to see the actual happening in Liberia.
Several other speaking at the occasion commended The Perspective newsmagazine for its indebt and analytical reporting on issues that the local press would not handle and publish. They appealed to The Perspective to quickly establish the newsmagazine in the country so that ordinary Liberians who cannot afford to go online would have the opportunity to read the magazine.