Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is apparently upset with Liberians for the way they pull or tear each other down in politics and negatively portray Liberia to the rest of the world, pleading with them to stop. In a rather mother -to -children -faction, she calls on Liberians to unite in their diversity and to uphold the country as their common patrimony.
The former president emphasizes that political differences should in no way allow Liberians to be at war with each other and to denigrate their country.This is a patriotic plea from not only a former leader, but a mother in the real sense of the world that we as Liberians, should never allow to fall on deaf ears. Disagreement should in no way lead us to violence or bad mouthing our country, particularly on the newly found platform – social media.
The media is not spared in this attitude either, as former President Sirleaf notes, calling on the media in Liberia to be less sensational. “Yes, you are supposed to be independent, you are supposed to be the conscious of society, you are supposed to be the watchdog; we honor you for that. But your sensationalism goes too far,” Madam Sirleaf observes.
But the media, it is often said, is mirror of society. It reflects happenings in society and the country at large, keeping checks on the operations of government – its watchdog function.As media practitioners, we are fully aware that in the discharge of our duties, standards should not be compromised. In other words, accuracy and balance are important in media coverage to ensure professionalism.
Notwithstanding, we owe it to ourselves foremost as Liberian citizens, and as media practitioners to ensure security and protect national security interest. The media cannot operate in a vacuum. But when politicians slip or deliberately deviate from the normal course of duty, we would not hesitate to say so, as a patriotic responsibility to the state.
At the same time we agree with former President Sirleaf on the need for unity among Liberians in their diversity, a foundation that is needed in building a politically strong and economically vibrant nation. W cannot progress as a people if we continued to tear each other down, and negatively portray our country.
We owe it not only to ourselves, but to posterity in working together to build and leave behind a better country than we met. This should be our prime focus as Liberians rather than pulling one another down.
We believe it is not only an honor, but a privilege as Liberians, to have a surviving former president in our midst for the first time in many, many decades to provide guidance and pieces of advice on the way forward. And we should be grateful, even if we are not pleased with all of her polices while she was in power.