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US Envoy’s comment about disinformation from some Liberians in US not fake 

Claim: “The purported letter from U.S Ambassador McCarthy accusing Liberians in the USA of spreading information is fake,” says activist Martin K.N. Kollie

Verdict: False. The letter is not purported, it is real, and the link is on the US Embassy Facebook page. In addition, the US Ambassador near Monrovia on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, voiced the accusation against Liberians with reporters.

Full Text

Liberians residing in the United States who were noted for using the traditional media or radio stations back home to spew allegations were shocked after the US embassy openly debunked their actions.

The US envoy in Liberia said most of the controversies emerging in Liberian media ahead of the elections originated from the United States.

“Today, I am ashamed to tell you that the most irresponsible controversies to emerge in Liberia’s media over the past month have originated from the United States. While responsible critical observations from the Liberian diaspora can be healthy, some cowardly media personalities and political personalities have intentionally disseminated rumours or misinformation into Liberia’s political environment from the safety of their studios and offices in the U.S.,” Ambassador McCarthy said in his opening remarks with the anti-corruption coordinators.

His statement comes on the heels of allegations by persons based in the US that City Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee, masterminded the killing of former Chief Justice’s daughter, Charloe Musu, by sponsoring a City police officer, Varlee Telleh, who is an ex-fighter for former President Charles Taylor during Liberia’s civil crisis. 

Liberian lawyer Jerome Verdier, currently residing in the US, made this particular allegation.  He was also the online guest panellist on the SpoonTalk show.

The Mayor, who was accused of masterminding the murder, has, through his legal team, challenged Verdier to provide evidence to authenticate his claim to help the Police force with an ongoing investigation.

Verdier is not the only person known for trading allegations and disinformation. Martin Kollie, who also resides in the diaspora but is vocal on local issues in Liberia, is known to have traded some false news as well, one of which was investigated by DUBAWA. 

For example, his claim about the doctor to patients ratio in the country was found to be palpably false after DUBAWA ‘Fact-Checked the claim. Attached is the report.

In discussing the issue raised by Liberia’s US Ambassador about disinformation from Liberians in the US, Martin Kollie sought to deny there was no such comment by the US Ambassador. He alleged the comment attributed to the US Ambassador was no more than pro-CDC propaganda being shared on Facebook. Kollie’s post, dated March 15, 2023, has generated over two hundred controversial comments, thirty-one shares and 292 Facebook likes and emojis.

Though some Facebook commenters disagreed with the claimant under his post, others believed him.

Verification

Given the mention of a prominent diplomat and the significance of the information to Liberia and its biting effects on the nation, DUBAWA decided to verify the post by activist Martin K.N. Kollie.

Again, as a result of the controversy generated by Martin Kollie’s post, insisting the comment by the Ambassador was non-existent, DUBAWA had every responsibility to verify if the US Ambassador’s comment was indeed made. 

The researcher found a link to the statement made by the US Ambassador, which is on the verified US Embassy Facebook page. In addition, audio recording of Ambassador McCarthy was played during one of the prime shows on OK FM, the “Afternoon Conversation” Ambassador McCarthy, speaking at a news conference recently said,

“While responsible critical observations from the Liberian diaspora can be healthy, some cowardly media personalities and political personalities have intentionally disseminated rumours or misinformation about Liberia’s environment from the safety of their studios and offices in the US. These people are motivated by disruption and a desire to break down trust in Liberian institutions- they don’t care what damage they cause. When questioned by law enforcement, they do not have evidence to back up their claims. 

“Unfortunately, they take advantage of America’s first amendment rights to spread rumours and stir up trouble in your country, which is despicable behaviour.”

Contrary to claims the information could not be accessed on the website of the US Embassy in Monrovia, DUBAWA can confirm it is online.

Conclusion

From the information gathered, it is clear that activist Martin K.N. Kollie lied about the US ambassador’s statement about diaspora Liberians spreading false information from the US back home.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with OK FM to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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