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Director of state-owned broadcaster suspended

(MFWA/IFEX) - The Liberian authorities on September 26, 2011 suspended Ambrose Nmah, the Director General of state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), indefinitely over the broadcasting of a press conference in which George Oppong Weah, leader of the main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), was alleged to have verbally assaulted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

According to the Ministry of Information, the suspension followed a recommendation by the LBS Board. The LBS board chairman, Alhaji Kromah, has been named as his replacement.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the opposition leader in a press conference on September 24 repeatedly told the media that "Ellen, that lady, she brought war, she is known for bringing war, not us."

Weah's comments, the correspondent said, angered President Sirleaf and her supporters.

MFWA adds its voice to the widespread condemnation of the suspension of the LBS boss and calls for his immediate reinstatement.

While MFWA does not condone the use of threatening, abusive, or insulting language against any person in the media or campaign platforms, it believes that it is wrong for the Ministry of Information to suspend or remove any of the heads of state-owned media in the country.

MFWA calls on the government of President Sirleaf to ensure that the state-owned media in Liberia becomes a truly public service broadcaster and that it is adequately funded in a way that protects it from arbitrary interference. Currently, the head of LBS is appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate.

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