The Liberian Government appears to be frustrated over an increasing negative media report, which seems to be damaging its image both locally and internationally.
Information Minister Lewis G. Brown did not hide this frustration Tuesday August 4, 2015, when he addressed the ministry’s regular media briefing, making specific references to media reports which suggest that president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been listed amongst several African leaders by US president Barrack Obama for corruption.
Brown made further reference to recent media reports about the presence of US FBI investigators here to investigate war crime criminals and corrupt officials-something the US envoy here denied knowledge of. The loud talking Brown promised that the government through the Ministry of Information will take drastic action against those media institutions that are in the constant habit of spreading such falsehoods, which tend to bring the regime in to public disrepute here and abroad.
He threatens that the Ministry will used all its administrative powers to ensure that the media institutions concern do not continue to feed both their local and international audiences with what he repeatedly termed as a sustained negative campaign against the government.
He said these false and misleading reports have the propensity to undermine the efforts of the government in the fight against corruption-insisting that his outfit has filed several complaints before the Press Union of Liberia for redress on the matter.
Expressing his frustration further, Brown reminded media owners that the ministry has the right to respond to issues that concern the government, saying “we will not take this likely.” “We believed that these falsehoods are intended to bring this government to public ridicule.” “By feeding the public with untrue information, ” he added “does nothing, but put every citizens at risks in the country”.
He proceeded by lecturing reporters and radio audience that the work of a professional journalist is telling factual stories, and not stories that will make others to condemn the progress made by the government. “The idea of painting this government in black, does no good for Liberia. You may think it is President Sirleaf, or Minister Brown but it is something that put every Liberian life in danger,: Brown says. He warned that the ministry will not sit and watch others to tarnish the reputation of this government by manufacturing lies in the name of freedom of speech.
“You have your right to say whatever, but you don’t have the right to tell lies on the government- it pulls the country down,” he cautioned. Brown pointed out that the intended action of the government to use its administrative powers to stop media houses from spreading falsehoods is not to halt the freedom of speech by citizens, or threaten anyone, but it is intended to hold and guide the way in which media institutions make their reports, and to avoid the dissemination of further misinformation. By Lewis S. Teh -Edited by Othello B. Garblah