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U.S. State Departments report not Holy Bible,

Public Affairs Department, LBS

The U.S. Department of States has released its 2014 human rights reports on countries across the world with Liberia captured conspicuously and stunningly.

We welcome the report, but would like to categorically state here that the report is not a ‘Holy Bible,’ meaning it is not beyond reproach simply because it was written by human beings who have natural short comings.

Since the release of the much heralded 2014 State Department’s report on Liberia, flagging some wrongs and/or excesses in certain aspects of the country’s governance system (judicial system), there are some who, for obvious reasons, are hailing and celebrating the report. 

They are classifying the report as a guilty verdict against the Liberian Government courageously hunting media houses with copies of the instrument and bank rolling some media institutions to publish and air negatives within it.

This is why the public has recently been seen screaming headlines and unfavorable stories in some papers regarding the State Department’s report and interestingly, ignoring the positive aspects of the report that talks about the freedom and tolerance the press, opposition and the entire citizenry are enjoying under the current administration. 

But, of course, this is not a surprise to us, because some Liberians are fond of emphasizing and celebrating the negatives of the country no matter whether it harms its image or not.

For some opposition politicians, they consider the report as a victory to celebrate without even reading the report thoroughly to establish the veracity of everything there in. 

But we believe that using such a document as a tool to condemn a well-meaning government like ours, one must first read and thoroughly investigate the accounts there in before rendering judgment.

Indeed, we believe the United State Government’s effort to mirror countries across the world to ensure wholesome governance, including rule of law, freedom, fiscal prudence, and national security is a worthy ventures that all must appreciate and support.

But, at the same time, we equally believe it must be done scrupulously to avoid misrepresentation and unintended consequences. We should remember that what goes into print remains forever and, hence, we must be careful in the collection and documentation of the facts.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf stated recently at programs marking the 239th Independence Anniversary, most of the information in the U.S. State Department’s human rights report were picked up from publications by the local media, and so it would be good were the U.S. to adopt and apply a “review and consult” policy before issuing such reports.  We couldn’t have agreed with the President more.

It is an open secret that some of the local media reports are malicious, unprofessional and impregnated with biases. We also know that some of these “advocacy groups” are bunch of financial hustlers under the guise of advocacy institutions.

They are paid ‘guns’ used by opposition elements and critics of the government to spam verbiages and falsehoods against the Liberian Government.

Importantly, some of these reports must be verified by checking with concerned individuals and institutions.

The mere fact the report acknowledges that some local media institutions took money to publish negative stories about the Government, it should indicate that not all the reports in the local papers are correct and professional as most of the publications lack journalistic ethics, thus the imperative need to critically counter check some of these reports before feeding on them cannot be over-emphasized.

Finally, we call on all to read the report comprehensively, free of premeditated minds, and make a clear sense of it, rather than only presenting portions of it as a verdict against the Johnson-Sirleaf Administration. 

Indeed, we welcome the U.S. State Department’s report, but we do so with the conviction that it contains flaws.

 


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