Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) Tuesday joined the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL to express concern over the George Weah’s led government reluctance to pay money owe the Liberian media through advertisements.
PAL over the weekend issued a statement expressing serious disappointed over government’s reluctance to meet up with its indebtedness with the struggling Liberian media two years after the ruling CDC government came to power.
In separate tweets Tuesday, CPJ and RSF express serious concerns over the attitudes of the Weah’s government towards the Liberian media.
“#Liberia-As the State owes around 247.000 USD of advertising in the press, about 12 newspapers are at risk of going bankrupt. RSF_inter is very much concern by the media outlets survival already in economic disarray amid the #COVID19 crisis,” the RSF tweeted.
“#Liberia@pressfreedom joins the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) to express concern about the @George Weah government withholding payment of debts to media houses, exacerbating already difficult economic circumstances for journalists,” CPJ Africa tweeted.
At an emergency meeting in Monrovia on Friday, the Publishers noted that despite the government’s repeated promises to meet up with its financial obligations to the media, it appears to have deliberately refused to live up to its promises.
As a result, media institutions are going through serious financial crisis, as their advertising base remains at a low, compounded by the government’s failure to pay its debt, is the fact that the Executive Mansion website has over the past years has taken away vacancy notices and other adverts from the local media.
The prevailing situation is forcing the media into collapse, amid the daily high cost of printing, generator fuel and other logistics that the media need to pay for on a daily basis in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
At their meeting over the weekend, the media practitioners warned that government’s continuous failure to pay its debt to media institutions would eventually lead them to taking several actions, including media blackout and possible withdrawer from the newsstands.
The media practitioners recalled that late last year during the induction of the President of the Press Union of Liberia the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. publicly announced that the Liberian Government was willing to settle all media bills.