During a three day training program on reporting the trial of Charles Taylor former President of Liberia and Special Court indictee, the Liberian Minister
of Information Dr. Lawrence Bropleh has told journalists that reporting the trial is challenging and it will have serious implications on the trial if not reported accurately. Speaking at the opening session held at the Crystal Ocean-view Hotel in Monrovia Liberia the minister noted that the trial has a lot of implications for the international criminal justice system and so therefore in reporting the trial the journalist should not include an opinion in his report but report only the facts. The Minister pointed out that one becomes a law abiding citizen before he or she becomes a journalist and so therefore everything they do should be in accordance with the law. The media he went on should not be seen as propagating information that he is guilty when he is still facing trial because “Charles Taylor should be seen as an innocent man until proven guilty by the court. This is not child’s play,” he emphasised “this is the trial of somebody’s father, uncle and one time President of this country and it should be seen as such,” adding “this government is committed to see that their former President has a free and fair trial”.
The Minister maintained that infant mortality is one of the dreaded diseases which kill a lot of children in Africa and this leads to less capacity enhancement.
He noted further that these disease are related to poverty, therefore he called for capacity enhancement “which will lead to capacity building” On the training session itself, the Minister said that the training was seen as a good beginning, “because it will improve knowledge and understanding of international criminal justice.” Outlining the purpose of the training, Afua Hirsh coordinator for Advocate for International Development said that “the eyes of the international community are fixed on this trial and the main people who are more concerned about the trial, that is Liberians and Sierra Leoneans don’t have access to the trial.”
She hoped that “this training will help greatly on reporting the trial and also it will help them (journalists) contribute in access to international criminal justice.”