By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan (Bong County Correspondent)
Through the interventions of the Press Union of Liberia, Bong County Superintendent Esther Yamah Walker has officially apologized to Journalist Melvin Siakor almost two weeks after she assaulted him.
On September 3, 2020, Journalist Melvin Siakor wrote the PUL to complain the Superintendent of assaulting him, thereby asking the Union to investigate Madam Walker for her action.
In his letter to the Press Union, Melvin alleged that Superintendent Walker slapped he had resulted in damaging his phone while streaming live during students protest at the Dolokelen Gboveh High School in Gbarnga.
According to him, the Superintendent after her action told him that the protest was not meant to be publicized.
PUL Bong County Coordinator Samuel Kplawru is said to have engaged the Superintendent on several occasions for dialogue but to no avail.
Our Bong County Correspondent says, finally Superintendent Walker agreed to meet with the Union’s Officials in her office on Monday, September 14, 2020.
During the meeting, Superintendent Walker denied intentionally assaulting Melvin and stated that she did not even know Melvin is a Journalist.
“Between my God, I never knew this boy to be the Melvin Siakor we usually hear, and besides that, I never had the mind of hurting anyone. If what he said in his complaint is what happened then it was actually a mistake” Sup Walker clarified.
She told the PUL officials that she has never hurt a Journalist and is not intending to do such, therefore calling on Melvin to forgive her.
“I can joke with all the Journalists, I don’t have any bad intention for them because I know very well that the media is a major contributing factor to the growth of a Nation, I swear I didn’t intentionally hurt this boy” she added.
While explaining about what happened, Superintendent Walker asked Journalist Siakor to call the price of the phone for immediate replacement, when the exact price was called, Madam Walker pulled her had-bag and counted $150 United States Dollars, placed it in the hands of PUL Bong Coordinator Samuel Kpalrwu for onward presentation to Journalist Siakor.
Journalist Siakor later received the money and presented a receipt to Superintendent Esther Walker in the presence of the Media and some office Staff of the Superintendent.
Meanwhile, Bong County PUL Coordinator Samuel Kplawru, has called for unity between the media and Officials of the County.
Mr. Kplawru said it is important for the media to work in hands with officials without any level of compromising for the sake of interest or favor.
He also maintained that while it is true that Journalists need to adhere to the PUL code and ethics, the PUL will not sit in the back and see the rights of Journalists being violated.
“We will not allow anyone to violate the rights of any of us, we ask the Public to go to court if anyone feels hurt about any Journalist but violating their rights will not be accepted under our regime’ Mr. Kplawru added.
For his part, Melvin Siakor thanked the PUL for intervening in the situation.
“I want to say thanks to the PUL, the Bong County Community Radio Network (BOCONET), and all other Media Institutions that been with me in the process.
When the situation occurred I peacefully wrote the PUL because I never wanted to take the law into my hands and as you can see today the PUL has intervened” He adds.
He said he is happy that Superintendent Walker recognized her mistake and apologized, adding that he does not hold anything against her and will continue to do his professional work as Journalist.