-As Citizens Call For Quick Action
By Esau J. Farr
A survey sampling of views of rural dwellers in Liberia have revealed that Liberians in the rural parts of the country are furious over the shutting down of the sub-stations of the State Broadcaster, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS).
Some citizens speaking to this paper in telephone interviews said they are yet to understand while the state broadcaster is off-air in rural Liberia.
According to them, LBS in previous years have done its best to provide timely and on the spot information to rural dwellers especially through the Supper Moring Show, News Half Hour and the Bumper Show amongst others.
But the cross section of the citizens told the New Republic Newspaper that since the going off-air of LBS in the rural area about more than three months ago, they have found it difficult to get timely information from the State Broadcaster while they are left to survive at the mercy of community radio stations some of which are not regular on the air.
To compound their situation, some of the community radio stations are either run or sponsored by politicians and whenever there is salary delays, the likelihood of coming on the air is slim and at the same time report old news.
“I only want you people to please talk with LBS to come back on the air because some of us are depending on them for information and since they went off the air, it is now four months we can’t hear from them,” one elderly man in Gbarnga, Bong County sadly pleaded.
One former LBS correspondent who begged not to be named shared the pains of the rural dwellers adding, “That true those people are telling you, about four months now our people can’t get any news from LBS here in rural Liberia. But the only thing I can say is the people know what they are up to. “This is Pro-Poor,” he concluded.
The shutting down of the sub-stations of LBS started barely three months after the inauguration of former football legend, Dr. George M. Weah as President of Liberia.
To further worsen the situation, last month, a planned go slow action was in sight by workers of LBS in demand of increase in salary and benefits and the station’s subsidy (budget).
Through the interventions of other major stakeholders, workers of the LBS abandoned their go-slow action and continued their work, but whether the issue of meeting the demands has been done, is something yet to be seem as they patiently await the signing of the 2018/2019 Fiscal Budget by President George M. Weah.
When contacted, the President of the LBS Workers Union, G. Moses Dorbor confirmed the shutting down of the sub-stations of the entity and blamed it on lack of fuel for outstation facilities of the station.
Mr. Dorbor explained that they as worker of the LBS are patiently waiting to see the signed and printed version of the national cake (budget) in order to understand and direct the next course of action.
“My brother, this is the first time since the resumption of outstation operation for us to go off the air for three months now; it has not happened, but we are patiently awaiting the President (Weah) to sign the new budget”.
On the average in Liberia, many tend to believe what they hear from the radio as first source of information and reliant which drives their actions in responding to the decisions of their leaders and making informed choices.
The situation is even needed to be quickly resolved than ever before as two weeks from now, citizens of Bong and Montserrado Counties will be going to the polls to replace Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and President George M. Weah whose respective elections created vacancies at the Liberian Senate.