Gov’t Fully Supports Press Freedom
-Weah As He commissions ECOWAS Radio
President George Manneh Weah has assured Liberians of his administration’s continued support to press freedom, adding that he will ensure the implementation of the Table Mountain Accord.
. The Liberian leader made the remark on Friday, March 23, 2018 when he served as a keynote speaker at the renaming and turning over of UNMIL Radio to ECOWAS Radio Station during a program held at the Pan African Plaza in Monrovia.President Weah recounted the numerous efforts that have been made by the UN and the collective will of the sub-region to support freedom of the press, human rights, as well as to sustain the consolidated gains that have been made in Liberia on its path to development, progress and democracy after years of turmoil.
He expressed profound gratitude for the invaluable services rendered by speakers at the official commissioning and turnover ceremony of UNMIL Radio to ECOWAS Radio. He lauded the Regional Broadcasting UNMIL Radio and its dedicated staff for services rendered to the people of Liberia in educating, informing, and entertaining them as far back as in 2003, when the nation was torn apart by war.
The Liberian leader noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a milestone document in the history of human rights and assured the UN that he will work with the National Legislature to ensure that those laws that criminalize free speech be repealed, as they serve as a form of media censorship and muzzling of the press as contained in the Table Mountain Declaration.
President Weah added that the Liberian government supports the Table Mountain Declaration; a key instrument for press freedom and free speech, which was signed by his predecessor, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2012. “We believe, no person should be arrested, intimidated or harassed for freely expressing their opinions on any subject”, he said.
The President further expressed gratitude to the United Nations family for establishing a radio station that stretches across all of the 15 political subdivisions, and then to ECOWAS for taking over UNMIL Radio in an effort to keep the Liberian people informed about the many development projects that the government has embarked upon to put the country back on track.
Commissioning the turnover of UNMIL Radio to ECOWAS, H.E. Dr. Jean-Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, said the commissioning of the radio station was in fulfillment of the decision made by the Authority of Heads of State and Government during ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit in 2000, which took place in Bamako, Mali where the establishment of a Regional Radio and Television Station for the sub-region was authorized.
“What we are witnessing here today, exemplifies the dreams of our founding fathers: to strengthen the bonds of unity and promote peaceful co-existence amongst the Member States of our community. He added that the turnover ceremony was equally matched by the depth of collaboration and bonds maximized by the Liberian government, the United Nations and ECOWAS Commission.
Also speaking during the ceremony, Mr. TundeAjisomo, ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia asked Member States to maintain the radio station as it is very cost intensive.
In attendance were Madame Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nation, Mr. Olof Skoog, Chairman of the Peace Building Commission at the UN, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Members of the Cabinet, international partners, among others.