Media practitioners and police officers have recommended to the Liberia National Police (LNP) to teach media relations courses to recruits of the LNP to enable them acquire knowledge in the field of communication prior to their graduation.
The recommendation was contained in a statement presented by participants during a one – day media and police forum organized by the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, Media Foundation for West Africa, and the International Media Support Group on Friday, 9 February at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor.
Facilitators include Malcolm Joseph of the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, Prof. Kwame Karikari of the Media Foundation for West Africa and a female from the International Media Support Group.
The workshop was held under the topic: “Liberia-Post-Election Police-Media Forum,” highlighting issues of elections security, media safety and media-police relations during the elections.
Speaking during the workshop, the Executive Director of the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building Malcolm Joseph said the intent of the workshop was to evaluate the first forum and its outcome and appraisal of how media-security cooperation worked during the elections.
The workshop also presented several speakers including Press Union of Liberia (PUL) President, Charles Coffey, outgoing Police Spokesman Sam Collins, and Oscar Bloh, Chairman of Elections Coordinating Committee, who spoke on the success, challenges, and lessons learnt from the election.
A representative of LNP’s Inspector General – designate Patrick Sudue, expressed gratitude to the Liberian media for the speedy working cooperation that the LNP had with the media during and after the elections.
The participants at the end of the workshop among other things recommended to authorities at the LNP the inclusion of Media Relations into the training curriculum of the police so as to train police officers as gatekeepers of the LNP.
They disclosed that it was disheartening to see that information dissemination within the police was only focused on the police headquarters, thereby making it difficult for LNP assigned superintendents and commissioners to adequately speak on arising issues.
The participants furthered that by doing this, the police authorities will be able to empower those superintendents and commissioners assigned in the 15 political subdivisions of the country to help government disseminate adequate and timely information to the public that are relevant to their survival.
Earlier, Prof. Kwame Karikari of the Media Foundation for West Africa assured the police authorities that his organization would seek funding to train police information officers provided a formal request is made to the organization.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Edited by Winston W. Parley