Liberian Independent Radio Journalist shaking off ‘political stains’ with personal radio station



The voice of a young Liberian radio journalist, who became popular during the Presidency of Global Football icon-turned politician (George Manneh Weah), hit the Airwaves in December, 2020. The voice was broadcast from a one-storey building painted with the Liberia’s national colors—red, white and blue, located on Capital Bye-Pass, in Liberia’s Capital city.

The voice was more ‘journalistic,’ talking about ‘peace’ and ‘love’ among Liberians, than ‘political,’ attacking political opponents of President Weah or his Government.

Most of the songs were ‘non-political’ and not ‘politically deifying’ (praise-singing) Mr. Weah’s ascendancy to the Presidency or his political actions.

The person speaking was of Mr. Sekou Sheriff, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Voice of Liberia (90.7 FM).

Mr. Sheriff became popular for his ‘stinging’ political remarks’ against Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and President George Manneh Weah’s political opponents through his Talk Breakfast’s Show, “Freedom’s Morning Rise”, on Freedom FM (87.9).

There are reports of Freedom FM being owned by an official of Mr. Weah’s government.

Two of the journalist’s targets in that show were Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr Alexander Benedict Cummings.

In successive editions, 22-23 January, 2020, Freedom FM’s Morning Rise Anchorman asserted that the Vice President gave one of her Office’s vehicles — presumably supplied by the Government — to “her boyfriend.” The journalist’s statement followed media reports of the Vice President’s accusation of the Head of State of being behind the Government’s long delay on supplying of official vehicles for the VP’s security as backed by Liberia’s constitution. The VP’s complaint came after media reports about political friction between her and the President.

Sekou Sheriff’s comments appeared to be a ‘defense’ for the Head of State, bringing his claim of independence into question. In another example, Sheriff described the prominent ANC Political Leader as “gay” (homosexual), days after Mr. Cummings criticized the President’s actions on social media.

Since he became Head of State, Mr. Weah has granted exclusive interviews only to journalist Sekou Sheriff at Freedom FM. Other Talk-Show hosts see this as political bias by the Head of State, and rival media proprietors fear that the licence has been granted to Voice of Liberia as a gift for support.

“In Liberia today, no individual journalist can own a radio station, except you have a big political hand behind you. Opening a radio station requires hundreds of thousands of United States Dollars or other top international trade currency. I want to open a radio station but I can’t find the money for such venture,” Mr. Frank Sainworla, popular Liberian radio journalist, who covered the ‘War Crime’ trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor at the Hague, said on Sekou Sheriff’s radio station.

Mr. Abraham Weah, Station Operator of Voice of Liberia says the station is creating employment. “The Chief Executive Officer of Voice of Liberia is Mr. Sehou Sheriff, and most of the staff of Voice of Liberia are young people, the Station has international correspondents.” This writer couldn’t reach Mr. Sekou Sheriff for comments on the challenges facing Voice of Liberia and funding source of his Radio Station, and he didn’t respond to a list of questions left for him through the Station’s Operator.

Voice of Liberia (90.7) was established in December, 2020. The official record from the entity says the station is in 13 of Liberia’s 15 Counties, and its current listenership is 30,000. It’s publicly stated mission is to use the power of radio for the people. “We are concerned about the Liberian people and always finding lasting solution to them through the power of the radio,” said a post on the Station’s web page.


There is an underlying problem in media in Liberia. Many Liberian radio journalists have left their independent position in the media and are taking political sides with politicians — only praising them or doing witch-hunt journalism against their political opponents. The major cause for the ‘migration’ is financial handicap of the majority of reporters across all media. The majority of post-war journalists are poor and their salaries are infinitesimally low.

Media employers, on the other hand, are getting little returns from trying to run an independent radio station. The Government or the private sector hardly advertise, or there is always a prolonged delay to pay for their published information in the media — which sometime goes beyond 12 months.

These conditions have caused politicization of the independent Liberian radio sector.

So far, Sekou Sheriff’s current ‘objective reportage,’ during his ownership of the radio station, is shedding off the ‘political stains’ on his previous journalistic garment at Freedom FM.

Many radio-based news-thirsty Liberians have turned to Voice of Liberia (90.7) as an alternative choice of radio-channeled educative, informative, and entertainment news.

Voice of Liberia’s Main Operations Base in Monrovia

Photo credits: Voice of Liberia Facebook page



Reporter: Samuel G. Dweh

[email protected]





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