The ECOWAS parliamentary delocalized meeting is ongoing in Monrovia without any reference to the Liberian media, not even the Press Union of Liberia – governing body for practicing journalists in the country or the Female Journalists Association and the Publishers Association of Liberia.
The meeting is specifically being held by the joint committee on communications and information technology, education, science and technology, labour, employment, youth, sports and culture.
The regional organization is establishing ECOWAS Radio and Television in Liberia that would broadcast across West Africa and beyond in languages such as English, French, Hausa, and Portuguese, among others.
The delocalized meeting is being held under the theme, “Contribution of ICTs to the regional integration process – status of implementation, challenges and prospects for ECOWAS community radio and television stations.’’
While we wholeheartedly applaud the ideal to establish ECOWAS radio and television stations with Liberia as host country, which will further strengthen regional integration thru Information Communication Technology, education, science and technology, labour, youth, sports and cultural promotion, the media in Liberia, particularly PUL and other media-oriented organizations should have been invited as observers.
We believe this is important because current endeavors to delocalize activities of ECOWAS, using the media as key instruments would be further enhanced if the local media here is brought onboard as partners.
Perhaps this is an oversight, and we are not blaming authorities of the ECOWAS Parliament, who are in the country as guests, but members of the Liberian Legislature that are hosting this milestone gathering to discuss our forward march as a borderless region.
Liberian authorities should know that forum of such nature in its embryonic stage should involve all key stakeholders, including the media to depict a broader perspective. We need to sit with our brothers or media colleagues from Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Niger, Benin, Togo and elsewhere in the region to set the platform that would promote our cultural, political, economic and social diversity as a regional bloc.
Lest we be misconstrued, we bring this to the public platform without any selfish motive other than fostering strong partnership with our regional parliamentarians in uplifting West Africa from economic mysteries and political shambles to promote peace, unity, trade, social and cultural diversity.
As we all know, the media is a strong conduit thru which every development agenda or program is promoted. And this is why ECOWAS deems it expedient to establish both radio and television stations in Liberia to advance its common interest. Wouldn’t it have been appropriate therefore, to have at least leadership of the Press Union of Liberia and other related media bodies in these meetings as observers?