Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe has said that the Government will remain tolerant in upholding its responsibility of maintaining a free and vibrant media landscape in Liberia.
Nagbe said the government will do so in keeping with its mandate to be accountable to its citizens as well as guide the nation’s democracy.
Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) Mini-Newsroom at the Ministry of Information on Wednesday, Nagbe, however, noted that while the Government subscribes to press freedom, it is also its duty to ensure strict adherence to the laws of the country.
“Free press and free speech are not freedom to insult, break the law, and violate the rights of others. Free speech is a freedom to exercise your franchise as a Liberian through civilized conversations,” Nagbe stressed.
The Information Minister emphasized that journalism is a noble profession, and not an occupation for the utterance or promotion of comments that incite the people.
He indicated that the greatest threat to press freedom is not the Government, but self-censorship of the media itself.
Nagbe wants the media to exercise its professional duties without interference, noting that the media should not allow itself to be used to propagate selfish political agendas that run contrary to the national interest.
He wants all media executives, including the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), to come to a table of understanding where they will ensure that the media landscape will not be used as an instrument for destruction, but a body that will benefit the nation.
According to him, the signing of the Table Mountain Declaration by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was geared towards decriminalizing speech offenses.
He said Government remains committed to the signing of the declaration and as such the PUL should continue to work with the Government to ensure that this initiative is a success.