Isaac Bantu

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Isaac Bantu is acting president of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA)

In 2001 "ALJA's acting president Isaac Bantu was in Washington September 27 and 28, for consultations with authorities at the Freedom Forum to finalize plans for the conference when the cancellation was announced. It is unclear at this time whether the conference would be rescheduled for a later date.

"While in Washington, Bantu met with some of the leaders of international organizations and individuals who support press freedom and democratic governance in Liberia. Among others, he held talks at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which has shown willingness to host a conference for ALJA, that could possibly be held in early 2002. NED, which hosted the 1998 Liberian journalists' conference where ALJA was organized, has continued to provide financial and other assistance to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and other democratic oriented organizations in Liberia, since the beginning of the Liberian civil war a decade ago.

"Bantu also attended a luncheon for the African Correspondents Association, under the auspices of the Freedom Forum. The guest of honor at the luncheon was the new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter H. Kansteiner, who briefed the African journalists and others in attendance on the Bush administration's policy toward Africa. He underscored the U.S. administration's commitment to support peace, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and democratic governance in Africa. Among others, the Assistant Secretary of State disclosed that the U.S. has spent nearly half a billion dollars to help end the civil war in Sierra Leone. He added that the U.S. has also provided $5 million to help support the war crimes tribunal for Sierra Leone recently established by the United Nations, and that U.N. is currently going through the process of selecting judges for the tribunal.

"Bantu used the opportunity of the occasion to brief Assistant Secretary of State Kansteiner about the continued state of death and destruction in Liberia, and the activities of ALJA. The organization is currently focused on drawing international attention to acts of terrorism perpetrated in Liberia and the Mano River region by the regime of Mr. Charles Taylor.

"Meanwhile, ALJA strongly condemns the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. We denounce those who perpetrate such senseless campaign of death and destruction. We are profoundly saddened by this unspeakable crime, which took the lives of an estimated 7,000 people in the four hijacked planes, the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Reports that hundreds of people from some 97 countries perished in the attacks indicate how much this crisis has equally touched the whole world.

"There can be no justification for the slaughter of innocent civilians to achieve political or other goals, no matter what the grievances or motivations of those who commit such crimes may be. ...

ALJA lauds President George W. Bush and the U.S. government for making it clear and also taking actions to ensure that this is not a war against Islam or the Afghan people, but against the perpetrators of these most brutal and barbaric acts of terrorism. We thank the U.S. for making available emergency food aid for the defenseless people in Afghanistan, who are being afflicted by the policies of the repressive Taliban regime." [1]

A 2006 article notes that "Isaac Bantu, a 1992 Nieman Fellow, is president and director of Mano River Media Forum/MARIFO, a Boston-based news network that monitors issues concerning press freedom, human rights abuse, political, social and economic issues in the Mano River Basin countries that include Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which are bordered by the Mano River." [2]