The media, in any society, is one selector on which such society depends for information-sharing. Like others, the Liberian society has and continues to receive its share of dividends of the media to include the enhancement of democracy and bridging of the information gap. Despite been hailed in several instances for discharging its responsibilities in effect amidst financial constraints, the Liberian media landscape may not be problem-free.
While most of these challenges, including capacity-building may have external attributes, it is only fair to admit that the Liberian media has its own problem. In spite of the growth in terms of the proliferation of media instructions throughout Liberia; the media landscape is still experiencing under-development. Sincerely, such development could be attributed to the manner and form we conduct ourselves in exercising our professional duties at all levels.
It is no secret that this sector of society is characterized by almost all of the vices that suffocate professional growth and development. Envy, back-biting or gossip, hatred and propaganda by the practitioners themselves to include those who call themselves “publishers, media executives or editors, senior journalists” are among such vices impeding our own progress.
When we, Liberian media practitioners at the highest level continue to always be at ‘each other’s throat’ undermining or ‘bad-mouthing and categorizing the others before public officials and politicians only for ‘cash’ and favor, it results to anger, hatred and division- that’s exactly what’s hampering the unity and development of the Liberian media.
Despite their professional limitations, these media people present impressions as “media gurus”, suggesting that they have control over others. More scaring is the malice developed and harbored by these public officials and politicians against certain media houses as a result of back-biting/destructive gossips and inflated impressions provided by these so-called ‘publishers, managing editors and senior journalists. The unprofessional behavior of these individuals and a few others continue to diminish the power, honor and integrity of the Liberian media. This is complete ‘mercenary journalism.
Unfortunately, the leadership of the umbrella group of journalists and media institutions, the Press Union which should be a unifying force seems not to have the cloud to handle this situation because of its strong ties with some of these media executives and politicians. Its interventions in crisis involving some of its members and public pronouncements many at times are so bias and compromising that the issue of its independence becomes a serious question.
If the Liberian media should regain its diminishing integrity and make progress towards substantive development, the mentioned divisive tendencies must be stopped, while the leadership of the media umbrella group must divorce itself from all forms of partiality within the Liberian media landscape.