The Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Lenn Eugene Nagbe, stresses indispensability of the media in Liberia to the survival of the State itself.
Addressing a day-long Media Market Day forum sponsored by Internews on Tuesday in Monrovia, Minister Nagbe notes the media landscape here is a bit different from other countries, as in Liberia, government is the biggest advertiser, which poses complication in media reportage and government interest or expectation.
Nagbe concedes that because the private sector is not the main advertiser in Liberia, it is a complicated situation, as the independent media only survives through advertisement.
We agree with the Minister one hundred percent; this is the reality in Liberia, which does not foster a vibrant independent press at all. On the contrary, a truly independent press is a big asset to the State.
We think it’s about time the government partner with the media in Liberia to creating and promoting a conducive environment for private investments to flourish, as an engine of growth.
We are fully cognizant that partnership, rather than confrontation, will be key in such collaboration for the general good. But the current reality doesn’t seem to manifest cooperation. Instead, there are suspicions for one another so much so that the government adapts a defensive posture.
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, leading to accusations of using the power of advertisement to influence media content, which shouldn’t be the case.
He suggests the government and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) work together in resolving this issue, adding that for the media business to survive, is to have advertisements.
We call on Minister Nagbe to take the lead in bringing about such engagement between the government and the media, aimed at erasing unnecessary suspicions, which does not benefit either side anyway.
If the media is truly considered as the Fourth Estate, as the authorities love to call it, then it should be brought onboard in every step along the governing process, but allowed to do independent, balance and objective reporting without being denied advertisements on the basis of its reportage albeit indirectly.