3 December 2013

Liberia: Suspension of Three LBS Employees Condemned

Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) has condemned what it calls the arbitrary suspension of three journalists from the state-run Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS).

LBS Management recently suspended the entity's Workers Union leadership in person of Titus Togba, Alfred Rogers and Richard Manuba for two months with pay cut.

LBS management revealed in a statement that the decision was based on the three officials "continuous disrespect and a gross insubordination for the senior management."

In a statement issued over the weekend, RAL believes that the suspended officials were not accorded due-process, and as such, their suspension is illegal, premeditated and counterproductive to the development of the state broadcaster.

As an institution that believes in the freedom of others, RAL said: "The Union officials' action to speak for a better working condition for its members was the most prudent decision taken."

"We are of the candid view that our colleagues have their rights to converge and express themselves against any ill decision that have the potential to hinder their welfare without the suppression or coercions of anyone," the statement said.

RAL opined that suspending the reporters without a dialogue to address some of their concerns are not only a disservice to the news department of LBS, but also detrimental to information dissemination in Liberia.

"Though we do not encourage or condone any act of disrespect by our members against any management, RAL intoned, but as the largest auxiliary group of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) that advocates for the welfare of all reporters across the country, it is pivotal to emphasize that we are in strong solidarity with our colleagues and all other media practitioners undergoing similar difficulty."

RAL President Keith Morris is quoted as saying; LBS action is against the policy of the International Labor Organization (ILO) that speaks about avoiding administrative action against Trade or Labor Union leaderships in an event of crisis.

However, RAL called for calm and encouraged the management to be opened to dialogue and discussions aimed at resolving the matter.

The Reporters' statement came as a result of several mediation attempts that failed, largely due to the refusal of LBS Director General Darryl Ambrose Nmah to resolve the matter in-house.

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