Reporters Association of Liberia or RAL, has expressed disappointment over failure of President Johnson Sirleaf to give full recognition to the Liberian media for its role in containing the Ebola virus when she was recently afforded an international platform to commend government partners in combating Ebola.
President Sirleaf recently visited the U.S., Europe and elsewhere 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.
According to a statement issued on March 17, 2015, by the umbrella organization of media foot-soldiers in Liberia, failure of the Chief Executive to ‘least mention’ the role of the Liberian media in chasing Ebola out of the country is a “complete misstep” that deserves an apology.
“The President’s action did not come as a surprise to Liberian journalists because we have been downplayed several times by our President”, the statement read.
“We’ll like to remind Madam President that if it were not the local media, all local and international assistances that came to our government would have not been known, and preventive messages that helped in the fight wouldn’t have made any impact”, RAL argued.
“The Liberian society consumes our products more than our foreign colleagues, and as such, we impacted the fight to a greater extent, than the medications that healed hundreds. Based on the recognition from the general Liberian population over the period under review, we believe that health workers and the media along with the entire Liberian people are the most adored in such regard.
We appreciate the recognition from the Liberian people and pray that we remain vigilant as a people until we cross the finishing line.”
RAL also called on the government to focus on building the capacity of Liberian doctors and nurses in an effort to protect the country from future epidemics.
“At this moment, our government’s primary objective under the recovery process should be strengthening our healthcare delivery system in order to battle whatever disease that is, or may be confronting the nation.
“It’s our advice that Madam President and government seek partnership medically sophisticated countries like Cuba, U.S., U.K. and India, aimed at instituting programs where young Liberian doctors and nurses can have opportunities for advanced training abroad in order to build locals capacity,” it urged.
It said that the media will like to see Liberian health practitioners also serving as experts across the world should there be similar situation, reaffirms commitments to government, adding; “The media will get involve with any positive engagement that stand to benefit the people.”
“We’re committed to serving the public even if the media is excluded from the national Ebola recovery program”, the RAL statement concluded.
By Rewina Juduh