Newcastle, Delaware – The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is calling on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to take steps that would ensure that some of the lapses that evolved out of the October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections are not repeated during the November 7th run-off presidential election.
ALJA says is it alarmed by the numerous complains of alleged electoral irregularities and the numbers of invalid votes that engulfed the first round of the presidential and legislative elections.
The Association, in press release issued on Sunday, October 22, 2017, calls on the NEC and political parties to ensure election workers are properly trained for the smooth execution of the run off presidential election.
ALJA also, urges the Commission to ensure that voters are fully educated about the location of polling centers and how to cast their ballots.
The Liberian media advocacy group based in the United States urges political parties alleging electoral irregularities in the first round of the Presidential and General Elections in Liberia to fully exhaust the election guidelines and the legal process in the resolution of their grievances without any acts of violence.
The Association is also cautioning supporters and sympathizers of political parties to refrain from all forms of violence as the legal process takes its course.
ALJA calls on the NEC to move expeditiously in resolving the complaints filed by the various political parties.
ALJA stresses the need for the Commission to be transparent and accountable in adjudicating the various parties’ complaints.
Meanwhile, ALJA is condemning the recent arson attack on the home of Liberian broadcast Journalist Smith Toby.
Mr. Toby is the station manager of the Monrovia based OK FM.
According to media reports, the incident was perpetrated by unknown men on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, on the Robertsfield Highway.
Reportedly Mr. Smith and his family escaped the fire outbreak unhurt.
ALJA sees the attack on Mr. Toby’s residence as counterproductive to press freedom and the peace and stability in Liberia during this critical period of electioneering.
The Association calls on law enforcement agencies to vigorously pursue the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring them to justice.
In a related development, ALJA says its attention has also, been drawn to alleged reports of intimidation and harassment of journalists and media institutions in the performance of their reportorial duty by some unscrupulous individuals in the Liberian society.
The Association says the reports are troubling and they have the propensity to rupture the peace and tranquility the country has enjoyed for the past 12 years.
In the wake of these horrifying reports, ALJA is calling on the Liberian government and heads of political parties to ensure that journalists and media institution are protected especially in the performance of their professional duties.