The Chief Justice of Liberia, Johnny Lewis has verbally apologized to Photo Journalist Sando Moore of the independent Daily Observer newspaper for ordering his security last week to seize Moore’s camera after the journalist had taken a picture of the Chief Justice.
The Press Union of Liberia responded by giving the Chief Justice 48 hours to return the equipment or face the full wrath of the press, including a possible lawsuit. In returning the camera, Chief Justice Lewis apologized and promised to pay for the camera if any damage was done to it.
Journalist Moore told VOA there is a broader lesson for all Liberians, especially government officials like the Chief Justice to learn from.
“I think we all as Liberians must realize that no man is an island, that no matter how big you are, you must respect your subordinates, you must respect other people that work along with you, respect members of the public, even your houseboy, even your cook, people who are engage in domestic service with you, you must respect them because without them you cannot achieve what you would like to achieve in your own house,” he said.
Moore said the Chief Justice’s apology was not just a victory for the Liberian media, but for all Liberians and the rule of law.
“It’s a victory for the Liberian people, and it’s a victory for the new political dispensation. I’m sure the Chief Justice realizes that Liberia is not the same like yesterday, and it can never be where you can take advantage of somebody and try to use your position or power over that person,” Moore said.
Moore said he accepted Chief Justice Lewis’ apology because he believed the Chief Justice was sincere.
“He apologized to me, and he asked me whether I accepted his apology and I said yes based on the fact that he said he was sorry, and he shook my hand. He said whatever happened to my camera he was willing to pay for it. As a matter of fact we all make mistakes as human beings, but the power to correct your mistake and the power to accept that yes I have erred that’s what makes one a great person,” Moore said.