Monrovia: After several local outcries and concern over the abrupt shutdown of the popular ‘Daily Talk’ blackboard, the United States Ambassador has re-launched the blackboard in an effort to ensure citizens’ access independent news and information.
Two (2) months ago the Daily Talk Blackboard was broken down by unknown individuals who paralyzed the daily write-out of the board and sparked huge concerns amongst viewers along the Tubman Boulevard and parts adjacent, terming the damage as an act of vandalism.
Daily Talk is owned and operated by Alfred J. Sirleaf, who believes that a well-informed citizenry is the key to the rebirth of the country after decades of civil conflict which took over 250,000 lives.
During the re-launch on Monday December 17, 2018 in sinkor, U.S Ambassador Christine Elder underscored the importance of the Mr. Sirleaf’s work to the larger public, indicating that information published on the blackboard promotes a peaceful citizenry.
“I am overly impressed with the tremendous work you’ve done over the decades and you add value to what you do and how you do it, if we will have to build this a hundred times we will do”, US Ambassador Elder.
The US government and the USAID Liberia Media Development Program INTERNEWS sponsored the re-launched of Mr. Alfred Sirleaf’s Daily Talk BlackBoard.
LMD INTERNEWS Chief of Party Jan McArthur stated USAID research indicates that freedom of Speech is a value that all Liberians hold dearly from every corner of the country.
Jan said the daily talk board has helped citizens engaged in electoral reforms by information posted, noting that the media has a greater responsibility in ensuring that Liberians have access to jealous opinions and information for public consumption. “The gains the Liberian Media and citizens have made over recent decades to protect freedom of Expression and freedom of association have been fought and shine out as unique, compared to many countries in this region, and even globally. These gains should be treasured and not taken for granted”.
The INTERNEWS Chief of Party reiterated the USAID Media Development Program’s commitment to continuously working to improve the media and promoting freedom of expression through accurate information and citizens access to information “It is our hope that the LMD media law work we are doing with Liberia media leaders PUL, CEMESP, the Judiciary, the LAW School and Bar Association will contribute to constructive dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict that arises within, or in relation to what is reported in the media”, Jan McArthur added.
LMD partners with Liberian media to promote tolerance and ensure differing opinions are shared without fear of reprisal.
The Daily Talk is an every day write out design to inform citizens on current issues in the country in order to provide a means reading the making decision. Citizens gather daily to read while passersby and vehicle owners glance at the board for information on the Boulevard.
Today Mr. Alfred Sirleaf was filled with joy when he and US Ambassador cut the ribbon to the re-launch of his board to translate information of national concern.
Accordingly, Mr. Sirleaf indicated that a promised hope to his many readers has come back and he was grateful to the US government and its people for the thought to resonate his decades’ dreams.
Sirleaf believes that access to information is the key to peace for Liberia, which the US government also supports a pluralistic, open and free media as a cornerstone of developing democracy.
“I am very happy today to see that we are about to do what we longed for months ago when our board was broken down because this journey comes far back from 2000 where people discouraged me from starting but yet I pushed and here we are today”.
Mr. Sirleaf retrospects the start of ‘Daily Talk’ as after the civil war in which he discovered through research that rebel leaders in various strongholds delivered false information to the citizenry which resulted to more evil than good.
“During the war, I carried oil gallon on my head behind the various areas controlled by rebel leaders to ascertain as to what information were they receiving and how were they fearing, to my utmost surprised people were being humiliated behind the lines while their leaders reported the wrong information to mislead the public”.
He recounted the help of former Police Director Paul Moibah as a major factor to the establishment of the Daily TalkBoard in which his dreams has translated into reality today “Many of my friends discouraged me from starting this board, but I had to tell Paul Moibah that I wanted to go to school so he give me a double money for school and I use the other money to start my write on the daily talk”.
Mr. Sirleaf disclosed that Daily Talk initiative will shortly be decentralized across the country to allow citizens from the lead-war counties to access information posted, adding that a reading room will also be added for citizens make further research on information about the country.
Mr. Sirleaf compiles his stories daily from newspaper reports and messages from volunteer correspondents, the Daily Talk is free to read and is funded by occasional gifts of cash and pre-paid cellphone cards and additionally, it has a suggestion box for readers.