When he officially took over from outgoing Information Minister Lewis G. Brown on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe may have sounded very unhappy with the Liberian media.
The current trends of events in Monrovia, especially the coverage/reportage of the mysterious death of Liberian politician and businessman Harry Greaves, since Sunday, January 31, 2016, may have triggered the unhappiness of the new Information Minister. In his remarks during the ceremony to officially take over, Minister Nagbe’s placed emphasis on the need for the Liberian media to be
positive in reporting.
He reminded the media that while it was true that bad news made the news attractive, it was also good to report the positive side of the story, saying it should not always be the bad side that must be reported. According to him, the new dispensation in communication and development journalism provided that positive news that affects society gets adequate coverage, adding, “ this is the new partnership in which I want to work with the media to rebuilt Liberia and the African continent at large”.
“I read the papers today and I hardly saw anything on the fact that since 2005 when Transparency International began to review our record in the fight against corruption, the country has made a very
significant journey which is worth highlighting,” said Minister Nagbe,
urging the media to highlight the country’s gains in fighting malaria following an assessment by a group of professionals. No doubt, the minister is right on the issue of the media reporting positive developments at all levels of the Liberian society as it relates to the new dispensation in communication and development journalism; and as well as we do agree with him on the foregoing, we also beg to differ with him if and only if he’s suggesting that the Liberian media must not report stories which threaten the security of the Liberian society and its inhabitants.
If the new Information Minister is suggesting that the Liberian media should not highlight in its reportage on the issues of ritualistic killing, rape and others Michael Allison, as well as harry Greaves, he must be very unfair to the partnership he may be attempting to forge with the media in the process of building and developing Liberia.
The media’s social responsibility to society must never be one-side, but also of interest to all facets of the society, including the peace and security of the ‘ordinary’ people. For us, the primary concern and interest of the new Minister of Information of Liberia is for the Liberian media to ensure the principles of good journalism in the coverage and reportage of issues and events across the country, including developments, corruption, as well as insecurity, among others.
While the sentiments and anxiety of the minister are clearly understood, especially in what’s currently obtaining in Monrovia regarding the “Harry Greaves affair”, the media must not be demonized and threatened in any manner and form as a result of the aforementioned issue of the day.
We would additionally joint Minister Eugene Nagbe in further admonishing the Liberian media to ensure the principles of good journalism – accuracy, balance and clarity, in reporting to the general public such issue as the current “Harry Greaves affair” without fear or favor. And this involves going beyond just the surface of the news to the bottom so as to provide public understanding ofsuch issue.