Deputy Information Minister, Isaac Jackson
Information Official Assures Support To Media
By Calvin Brooks
MONROVIA, April 21 (LINA) - Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson has rejected claims by a former media leader that the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf does not support the media in Liberia.
“The government of President Sirleaf is committed to and is continuously supporting the Liberian press,” he maintained.
According to the Liberia News Agency, Minister Jackson gave the assurance at the weekend at a symposium organized by The NEWS newspaper to mark its 25th Anniversary at the Capitol Hill campus of the University of Liberia.
Jackson cited how the government provided US$100,000 to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to build a headquarters, but noted that the amount could not be accounted for by the former leadership of the Union.
He pointed out that the Liberian government was among the first on the African Continent to pass into law the Freedom of Information Act to enable journalists and the public to access information from public and private entities that provide public services in Liberia.
He emphasized that this government has also provided space for the media and the public to exercise freedom of speech without harassment or intimidation.
The Acting Minister said it was unfortunate that the former PUL president, Peter Quaqua, during whose administration the Freedom of Information Act and other instruments were signed, could claim that the government is not supportive of media.
He emphasized that while people may not like the government and its leadership, it would be fair to say the truth and not engage in falsehoods about developments in the country.
He assured that the government remains committed to freedom of the press in Liberia, adding that it also supports the development of the media, despite of the abuse of press freedom by some individuals and media houses in the country.
Meanwhile, the former PUL president Quaqua has acknowledged the support of the government to the media, but noted that the government has not made media development a part of its development agenda.
Quaqua claimed that the government does not have in place any program intended to develop the media which, he noted, is crucial towards building a vibrant democratic process in any country.
He said if the democratic process in Liberia should be strengthened to maintain peace and good governance, the Liberian media should be developed to play the role required of it.
Quaqua confirmed that the PUL did receive US$100,000 from the government in 2008, but did not comment on the acting minister’s claim that the former PUL administration cannot give account of the money.