-- U.S. Ambassador tells Liberians
US Ambassador Michael McCarthy has reminded Liberians to be thankful for the high level of press freedom in the country, and its pluralistic media landscape.
According to the US ambassador, without a genuine and free Press (media), a country cannot flourish and attract many who believe in the freedom of the press and people.
“Liberia is on the right trajectory. All may not be well now, but you have a reason to celebrate,” Amb. McCarthy added. “Be thankful that you have a free press. It is not the same everywhere. Many parts of the world do not have a free press and that makes it difficult for a democracy to flourish in those parts of the world.”
The US ambassador made the comments when he visited Voinjama, Lofa County, recently to get a first-hand briefing about the security situation at the borders of Liberia with Guinea following the September 5, 2021, military overthrow of Guinean President Alpha Condé. His visit coincided with the celebration of the 57th founding anniversary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), which was officially held in Voinjama and other parts of the County.
Although McCarthy did not specifically attend the PUL anniversary celebration, he expressed delight that the events were ongoing peacefully. Supporting the U.S. Ambassador’s remarks, PUL President Charles Coffey said he is happy that the American Ambassador is following developments in the country, mainly the workings of the media and its impact on the country.
“The U.S. Ambassador’s statement is true and it is welcoming. There is a level of freedom we enjoy here in Liberia that cannot be compared to many other countries around the world, mainly those places where journalists are killed without anything coming out of their arbitrary deaths,” Cuffey said.
He noted that the U.S. Ambassador’s statement is a motivation to all journalists in Liberia to do more and be better in their professional calling. Cuffy added that the Liberian media landscape has now set the recipe for pure democracy and freedom of expression.
He noted that the media has created a platform for every Liberian to exercise his or her right and to question those who govern and seek redress.
“We can safely say that we are making significant progress in our country when it comes to the freedom of journalists and even other people who are not journalists,” the PUL President said. “Because of the media, draconian laws hindering freedom of speech have been repealed. It is a blessing that today media offenses -- intentionally or not -- are treated as civil matters, rather than in the past when they were considered as treason or murder cases. We should be happy that we are succeeding little by little.”
He said because of the media, people from all walks of life can now freely express themselves in the confines of the law without any fear of harassment or intimidation.