U.S. Ambassador frowns on diaspora Liberians
By Bridgett Milton
United States Ambassador to Liberia Michael A. McCarthy has frowned on some Liberians in the U.S. and other countries for disseminating rumors or misinformation into Liberia’s political environment from the safety of their studio and offices in the diaspora.
Amb. McCarthy expressed the concern while speaking at a press roundtable with Global Anti-corruption Coordinator Richard Nephew and USAID Anti-corruption Task Force Executive Director Shannon Green Tuesday, 14 March 2023 in Monrovia.
Amb. McCarthy said these Liberians in the U.S. are motivated by disruption and desire to break down trust in Liberian institutions without caring what damage they cause.
He added when questioned by law enforcement, they do not have evidence to back up their claims.
“Unfortunately, they take advantage of America’s First Amendment rights to spread rumors and stir up trouble in your country which is despicable behaviour,” Amb. McCarthy warned.
He said while responsible critical observation from the Liberian diaspora can be healthy, some cowardly media personalities and political personalities have intentionally disseminated rumors or misinformation into Liberia’s political environment.
McCarthy added that in both their U.S.-funded media training and their messaging to the press, they spent a lot of time emphasizing responsible journalism and that with freedom of expression comes an obligation to verify facts and not inflame passions without first doing due diligence.
“Today I am ashamed to tell you that the most irresponsible controversies to emerge in Liberia media over the past month have originated from the United States,” McCarthy said.
At the same time, Amb. McCarthy has lauded the Government of Liberia for progress made in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“I was not here for International Women’s Day, but I still wanted to congratulate the Weah administration, traditional leaders, the religious leaders, the women support groups, UN Women, and UNDP for going far beyond lip service to taking coordinated action to preserve the Sande while fighting the scourge of FGM,” he noted.
He said the UN through its Women’s Goodwill Ambassador Jaha Dukure, believes that the practice of FGM in Liberia may be eliminated, but underscored the need for more political will.
The U.S. Envoy said as the Liberian public is well aware, the U. S. government is deeply concerned with corruption globally and especially here in Liberia.
He said Liberia does not have an invasion of locusts, and it has been blessed with a bounty of resources. But Ambn. McCarthy noted that there is only a man-made plague that holds back Liberia today and that plague is corruption.
“Corruption has been a part of Liberian society for over 200 years, like FGM or the tradition of binding feet in China’s history,” he said.
Amb. McCarthy stated that once corruption is a fully established way of doing business, it is very difficult to remove.
Meanwhile, Amb. McCarthy has unconditionally condemned the violence that occurred on the University of Liberia campus.
He said politicians, student groups, and citizens across the country should know that violence of any kind has no place in a democratic society but will only take this country backward.
Making remarks Global Anti-Corruption Coordinator Richard Nephew and USAID’s Anti-Corruption Task Force Executive Director Shannon Green, emphasized that, in Liberia, the US Government wants to see more vigorous actions in the anti-corruption fight.
They said it is not the expectation of the US Government that every nation is going to be free of corruption, but that actions are taken whenever allegations of corruption are made against some citizens.