The Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) has expressed disappointment over the alleged failure of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to give what it termed as “full recognition to the Liberian media” when she recently visited the United States and Belgium.
According to RAL president Mr. Keith Morris, at those meetings, President Sirleaf commended the Liberian government and partners in combating Ebola.
“President Sirleaf recently visited the U.S., Europe where she used platforms provided by world leaders to praise governments, countries and individuals for their roles in containing the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia,” Mr. Morris said.
According to a press statement, RAL said the failure of the Chief Executive to “at least mention” the role of the Liberian media in chasing Ebola out of the country is a “complete misstep,” which deserves “an open and international apology.”
“Even though we are disappointed,” Mr. Morris said, “the president’s action did not come as a surprise to Liberian journalists because we have been downplayed several times by our President.”
“We would like to remind Madam President that if it were not for the local media, all local and international assistance that came to our government would not have been known, and preventive messages that helped in the fight wouldn’t have made any impact.”
“The Liberian society consumes our products more than our foreign colleagues, and as such, we impacted the fight to a greater level,” he said.
However, the media group said it appreciates the recognition from the Liberian people.
It called on the government to now focus on building the
capacity of the health sector so that it will be able to protect the
country from future epidemics.
RAL urged President Sirleaf to seek partnership with medically sophisticated countries like Cuba, U.S., U.K. and India with the aim of instituting programs where young Liberian doctors and nurses can have opportunities for advanced training.