Posted by Jones Nhinson Williams |
History has proven that dictators, tyrants, warlords, drug dealers and gangs’ leaders have all failed, time and again, to defeat the press, and the reason is simple: the pen is mightier than the sword. This means the power of the pen is universal and immortal. It also means the peaceful acts of writing can have stronger effects than violence. It also means words can solve disputes more effectively than force.
We cannot develop Liberia, and, our beloved president His Excellency George Manneh Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) coalition government cannot succeed if it chooses to have an adversarial relationship with the press. On the other hand, Liberia cannot develop or move forward if the Liberian media refuses or intentionally chooses to paint a dark picture of the country to the outside world. Therefore, both the Liberian government and the Liberian press need each other while honestly discharging their duties and carrying out their core responsibilities.
Global analysts have agreed, in principle, that in a democracy, and more specifically in emerging democracies and troubled nations like Liberia, the role of the press is two-fold: to inform the public and, more importantly, to act as a watchdog on government activities.
Paraphrasing Ben Bradlee, former editor-in-chief of the Washington Post newspaper, the current relationship between the Weah’s CDC government and the Liberian press is adversarial, if not confrontational. As Bradly would say, “You will never get a Liberian reporter to say that the relationship with the government is good. Because if he or she did, he or she would probably be lying, or the government would be treating him too well. But the government doesn’t have to treat reporters all that well. They just must stay out of the way.