The Executive Director of the Liberia Media Center says President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must resist the temptation and demonstrate greater tolerance to dissenting opinions by re-instating Ambrose Nmah in the wake of ELBC coverage of the campaign rally of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Mr. Lawrence Randall said circumstances surrounding Nmah's suspension were worrying signs that gains made by ELBC in the last few months could be reversed.
While praising the Sirleaf administration for securing and protecting the space for tolerant debates and dialogue, he believes this latest action could undermine the gains made by her administration in fostering freedom of the press.
"This government has seen welcomed improvements in the global world press freedom ranking and Media Sustainability Index and allowing itself to be drawn into this situation could hurt Liberia's growing standing as a tolerant society", Mr. Randall noted.
Mr. Randall said, while the LMC is totally against the use of the media for trading of insults, rumours and allegations of mutual recrimination by political parties, it was prudent for the President to have exercise tolerance in this situation.
He said though the President reserves the right to hire, fire and suspend public officials as deemed fit, the Ambrose Nmah, Ledgerhood Rennie leadership at ELBC have made an impressive mark in their short tenure and this should have been considered when the decision was being made.
Mr. Randall speaking ahead of the launch of the 2011 Elections Media Monitoring report, said ELBC has been successfully transformed into a non-partisan professional outfit that provides the platform for unbiased news and information dissemination.
With ELBC topping the fourth Media Quality Barometer ranking system and performing outstandingly in the yet to be released Elections Media Monitoring Report, it was difficult to understand while the authorities would take such an unpopular decision at a very crucial period, the LMC boss said.
"The decision is not only troubling but undermines ELBC growing reputation as a credible and reliable platform for news and information dissemination especially given the manner and circumstances leading to the suspension" he said.
Mr. Randall encouraged the office of the President to move swiftly in restoring Mr. Nmah to his post as the time and opportunity was still not lost.
Liberia Media Center
1st Street, Sinkor, Jallah Town Rd