UNMIL SRSG emphasizes importance of free media

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3 May 2017

UNMIL SRSG emphasizes importance of free media

03 May 2017 - Monrovia - On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Liberia, Farid Zarif today emphasized the significance of freedom of expression in light of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections. He wrote that freedom of expression for all Liberians is necessary in the pursuit of genuine, free and fair elections. 

“It is necessary for citizens to make informed decisions about the future leadership of this country.  In this regard, the media have a critical role to play as a conduit of sound information that would enable Liberians to elect their leaders.” wrote Zarif for a keynote speech at the University of Liberia and read by Marcel Akpovo, Chief of Human Rights and Protection for the UN Mission in Liberia.

The SRSG stated that while the primary responsibility of protection for journalists and freedoms remains the duty of the state, it is imperative that the media have their share of responsibilities.

“I strongly believe that the best way of safeguarding and protecting freedom is to ensure that journalists and media adhere to professionalism and integrity that they must sustain on a daily basis as critical to their corporation and profession…  I believe Liberia is still a fragile democracy and its continued stability depends, among many other things, on the media’s commitment to uphold the principles of neutrality and professionalism while performing their role.” .

SRSG Zarif called on public officials to support the press to continue to disseminate information that holds the Government of Liberia accountable to the citizens of Liberia.  He reaffirmed UNMIL’s continued commitment to support the Government of Liberia, civil society organizations, media and the citizens of Liberia towards promoting a greater press freedom and freedom of expression for all Liberians.

SRSG Zarif concluded his remarks by quoting the UN Secretary General on today’s occasion “I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all. When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world”.

The event was organised by the Press Union of Liberia.

Click here for the full SRSG’s speech

Watch Secretary-General’s speech on World Press Freedom Day