Editorial: A need to cultivate partnership with the media
Newspaper publishers in Liberia are faced with serious economic hardship due to the declining state of the Liberian economy, leaving many publishers struggling and unable to meet overhead costs or stay afloat in the industry.
Newly inducted President of the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) Mr. Othello B. Garblah, put it bluntly over the weekend at the PAL leadership induction ceremony when he lamented that since the inception of the Weah Administration, the media in Liberia has been lagging behind transformation programs. Mr. Garblah noted that this is so after nearly two decades of peace, apparently due to donor misguided projects that were intended to empower the media to become viable in meeting present day realities and challenges.
“The country’s economic environment is getting worse on a weekly basis, and the survival of any newspaper rests on its economic viability, emanating from adverts or commercial contracts”, he laments, and adds “even the few adverts published, payments don’t come so easily.”
This is nothing but the grim reality the media in Liberia faces. Businesses are not advertising due to the bad economy, and the government, which is the largest advertiser, is reluctant to pay for adverts placed in newspapers. Yet, it is rigid in demanding or pressurizing media managers to be current with taxes and other tolls.
If the Fourth Estate, as the media is often identified, must survive, and thrive, it needs support, which could come in the form of grants or thru a vibrant economic environment and prompt payment for services rendered.
The media is not just a conscience of society but a critical segment of any society. It does not operate in isolation. Its sacrificial work should be respected and supported so that it can perform its sentry role.
This is why it is important that both government and private sector foster partnership with the media in building a wholesomely functioning society for the common good. As societal watchdog, the media is a partner for good and should be treated in such manner.
However, what has been observed over the years regarding the way government and politicians view the press is found wanting. They rather prefer having the media promoting their selfish ambitions than the public good, which no journalist with integrity should yield or subscribe to.
All we seek is a respectable partnership that would advance societal cause and protect the rights of the less-fortunate in a world where greed, power and wickedness have taken center stage. Ours is a selfless duty that we are prepared not only to uphold but defend for the greater majority come what may. We believe a strong partnership with the media would go a long way in not just sustaining peace, security, and democracy, but fostering an environment for profitable economic activities and business growth that leads to rapid development.