Editorial: Giving Publishers the Benefit of Doubts

The role of the Liberian Media in the process of the country’s political and socio-economic transformation following years of civil crisis may not be as encouraging and impacting as anticipated. Considering the manner and form the Media has conducted itself in its journalistic sojourn over the years, it is no secret that it has now become a contributor to Liberia’s problem.

The fact that the Media has allowed itself to be manipulated one way or the other by Liberian politicians to accomplish motives unrelated to or not associated with the country’s post-conflict political, socio-economic and infrastructural development, its credibility is now being questioned and positive image diminishing.

One of a few major attributing factors, perhaps, could be the inability of key actors of the media sector to place professionalism and patriotism above personal aggrandizement and relationships. The fact that the opposite of the foregoing is currently obtaining in our country, independence has to a larger extent, has vanished.

When most Media executives and practitioners should be performing their duties in consonance with journalistic principles and the nation’s supreme interest, they   have now become interest representatives, ‘middle men or spokespersons for investors, companies or politicians. By virtue of their status as key actors of the sector, in terms of ownership (publishers), most of their editorial decisions favor these institutions and politicians, something very visible now in the Liberian Media.

Perhaps, it is in view and realization of the foregoing that a number of publishers or heads of media institutions in Monrovia have, over the past days, been brainstorming the way forward as a way of restoring the professional image and dignity of the sector.

In all fairness, such self-determination may be a welcome decision, but the possibility of adherence to whatever policies that would evolve from such brainstorming exercise by these media heads and publishers is one thing to think about. Such doubt may be a result of the experiences of the past when publishers and media executives initiated and adopted policies, but failed to commit themselves because of selfish motives.

The greedy interests and lack of commitment of professional agreements characterizing the media sector may no doubt, be responsible for the down-trend of the sector in Liberia. We must all accept the fact that our sector can only be vibrant if we ensure professional standards, uphold whatever we agree upon and exercise the highest degree of patriotism as it is being done by our colleagues in other countries.

Of course, it is agreeable fact that not all of the publishers and heads of media institutions may sincerely commit themselves or uphold whatever resolution or policies to come out of the ongoing meetings. But those who may very up to the task must remain steadfast in restoring the positive image of the Liberian Media.

While giving the benefit of the doubts to them once more, we can only hope and pray that the move by publishers and heads of media institutions will this time be a success so that the Liberian media can resurrect from its current partisanship status.

We must, once more, commend the publishers and media heads for the renewed professional vigor, as we give them the benefit of the doubts toward restoring hope to the media sector and keep it from being manipulated by politicians and others.

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