President George Weah wisely calmed the storms last week when he met with media managers and publishers here, including the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia at his Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia and reiterated his government’s commitment to upholding press freedom and free speech, as guarantees under the Constitution of Liberia.
Following a healthy exchange of ideas, President Weah went a step further and had lunch with members of the media.
The engagement with the media was intended to alley all fears and suspicions about each other – Government and the Liberian media that has been heightening unnecessary tensions in the country.
The forum between the two parties was timely to create an atmosphere for partnership in the crucial forward march to genuine peace, reconciliation and economic development.
Now that the dust has settled, we call on the media and the government to build trust in each other in pushing the agenda for the Motherland.
However, we like to caution here that in this partnership, our respective roles are mutually exclusive. Ours, as media practitioners, is to keep sentry on the government in making sure that everything it does is in the best interest of the country and its people.
Government, as we all know is moved by political interest as it endeavors to work in the interest of the state and its people. But human beings are driven by self-interest, which often runs contrary to the interest of the majority.
The media has played the traditional role of watchdog for society, alarming each time the public interest or right is trampled upon, for who else could effectively assume this sacred duty if not the Fourth Estate?
However, this should not be misconstrued as the media being against the government or the President. If the administration did something good, the media would acknowledge so thru its reportage. We are fully aware that government should have its own media team to project its image positively, and this is why the independent media would always stand with the public by pointing out ills in the public sector, because human beings – whether they are in government, from the religious community or other areas of society, are infallible.
Notwithstanding, it behooves all – government, media, civil society, religious community, business people and ordinary citizens to keep the interest of the state supreme above all other selfish desires, for the common good. This should matter most in all that we do; the interest of Liberia.