President Johnson Sirleaf Reassures the Press

Thursday, 22nd March 2007
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf listens keenly during the meeting with journalists.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf listens keenly during the meeting with journalists.
Photo Credit: James Garessen II/Executive Mansion

Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has again reaffirmed her governmentís commitment to freedom of the press and of free speech, noting that her government absolutely has no intention to undermine the integrity and independence of the press.  The President described the press as a partner in national development and expressed the belief that the media can be more helpful by exercising internal restraint.

The President spoke of the critical role of the media in national development and stressed the need for the press to uphold its own principle, by ensuring that the facts remain their guide in all materials they publish or broadcast. The Liberian Leader called on the press to assist government in its campaign to fight corruption, which she regretted, remains a major impediment in governmentís development drive. The President urged the press to embark on investigative reports with the view of exposing corruption, which has become systemic.
 
The President said government remains opened to constructive criticisms and suggestions aimed directing the development agenda of government. The President assured media executives of governmentís determination to maintain an environment conducive for the performance of their duties.
ďWe are partners going through a common agenda; we sometimes may not agree, but letís agree to find a way to move Liberia forward,Ē the Chief Executive pleaded with Media Executives.

The President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. George Barpeen welcomed the meeting with the President and spoke of the need for continuing consultations between the Union and government.  Mr. Barpeen maintained that the press is not an enemy of government, noting that the Union is prepared to work with government to foster a more cordial working relationship between the PUL and government.

Media Executives at the meeting welcomed the opportunity to discuss media matters with the President and welcome the Presidentís affirmation of governmentís commitment to Press freedom. They admitted that fears of press censorship were based on experiences of the past, and urged the President to ensure that only agencies responsible for media related matters get involved in issues concerning the press.

Thursday's meeting was attended by Information Minister-designate, Dr. Laurence Bropleh as well as senior local media Executives, including the Managing Director of the Daily Observer, Mr. Kenneth Y. Best.