Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Wilson Tarpeh, says the Commerce Ministry is prepared to work with the Liberian media because it has the capacities to create jobs.
Addressing a cross section of media personnel Tuesday, 27 November during a one-day Media Market Day sponsored by Internews, Minister Tarpeh says while government is doing everything possible to assist the media, equally so, the media should be patient.
The forum was held on the topic: “Media and business working together in integral to each other’s sustainable growth” at Corina Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.
He says the Ministry of Commerce, through its Director of Communications would begin to provide advertisement to media institutions that are tax compliant
The Commerce boss stresses that businesses operating in the country need to work with the media to help it improve services to the public.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, who also spoke at the forum on the topic: “Importance of Media and Information in Liberia”, stressed that the Liberian media is indispensable to the survival of the state itself.
He says the media landscape here is a bit different from other countries, as in Liberia, government is the biggest advertiser, which has created a complication.
He explains that because the private sector is not the main advertiser in Liberia, it is a complicated situation, because the independent media must survive through advertisement.
Nagbe notes that often, the government is accused of using the power of advertisement to influence media content, which should not be the case.
With the government being the biggest advertiser, it tries to harmonize how government put out and utilizes it advertisement which is seen as controlling the independent media by directing advertisement to favored media institutions.
The Information Minister concedes that Liberia has gone back to a situation where individual agencies of government use their own yardstick in deciding which media entity to advertise with.
He says because of that, the government being comprised of politicians, there is a tendency that some independent media entities that a particular government agency does not favor would not get advertisement from that entity.
However, Minister Nagbe suggests the government and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) work together in resolving the issue, adding that for the media business to survive, is to have advertisement.
There were several facilitators at the forum, including Tavian MacKinnon of GeoPoll, who provided an overview of ratings and how they have differed since 2016; International Expert CEO of AMT Pty Ltd, Steve Ahern, spoke on the commercial and business imperatives of media advertising, among others. By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne