The “Fourth Estate” is a typical European concept which was birthed during the French Revolution dated far back in 1837. The “Fourth Estate” refers to the media or Press. Thomas Carly attributed the origin of the term to one Edmund Burke, who also used it in a parliamentary debate in 1787 on the opening up of press reporting of the House of Commons of Great Britain. The “Fourth Estate” in contemporary society wields enormous and indispensable media power coupled with mountainous affluence and social influence on society.
The media job is not a potential hustler job. It is a skillful career for personalities who are called to media service to uphold a clearly defined journalistic doctrine in society. Aside from this, the “Fourth Estate” is next is in line to that of the three branches of government (executive, legislature and the Judiciary) but the press uses different lenses to butcher a million layers of news and news related stories. The chief difference between the Fourth Estate and the three branches of government is that the three branches of government are on taxpayers’ payroll, while the Fourth Estate it is not formally recognized constitutionally to constitute the running of the day-to-day functions of an elected government by the people.
The approach of the media is practically a timely one so that the media is able to execute its du ties and responsibilities ethically without fear or favor especially in a nation that adheres straightly to the tenets of strong democracy, rule of law, human rights transparency, accountability, and probity. The Press doesn’t survive in a nation mainly runs by men that make laws and compared the safety of its citizenry for little or nothing.
Aside from the above media rudiments, the Fourth Estate in Liberia like any other media entity in the world has a clearly defined function in the Liberian society. The press should be truthful to its reportage and it huge duties and social tasks. The media should carry out checks and balances of its reportage at all times. The media sets the agenda according to what is done and said by both the private and public sectors.
The present exists to hold the Weah’s government accountable. The media is not in partnership with government. The press is obliged to investigate, report the truth and nothing but the truth with no partiality and or interests. The press cannot be a propaganda tool for government, even though some media houses can choose to befriend the government for their own gains which can be detrimental to the survival of p media sovereignty.
President Weah and members of his entire government will need to have a positive mindset about the press and be open-minded about how to deal with the press. This can be done by President Weah speaking out on issues, addressing the press and take questions that he will not usually allow his Minister to ask him about The Liberian press it should be the pride and dignity of the Liberian society, as such it should be held in high esteem with respect and honor by the Weah government ill-respective of his differences to the Liberian media. The media, on the other hand, should also reciprocate by telling the truth without fear or favor. The President and his entire government will need to come clean and be truthful on matters of sensitive nature rather keep tightlipped on the issue thus forcing the press to speculate on said issues. When the government remains silent on a very important matter it provokes the press to chase the truth wherever it leads it.
When the press and is ill-treated by President Weah and his entire government, it can create an alarming outcry at the doorsteps of the International Community, and as such, the International Community will rise up in defense of the media in Liberia. The International community will also join the rank and file with other partners to punish the Weah government through sanctions, etc., etc. for cracking down on the press. The International Community believes in press culture and sees it as partners in progress from a global perspective. The International community has the tool, the influence, and the political will to stigmatize, paralyze or tarnish the political reputation of the Weah government if the government is targeting the media for unjust reasons in Liberia.
The political survival of any government is not dependent on the press. But the press has the power to its disposal to make the Weah’s government look good or bad from a global perspective. In this case, the government will need to respect, protect the press under its laws. President Weah will need to adhere to all tenets of freedom and freedom of the press under the laws of Liberia. A government that targets the press in most instances can of fall prematurely due to the combination of multiple problems especially when the media freedom to report is being destroyed by the government of the day through multiple crackdowns. The Weah government should investigate the compulsory deportation of Journalists Paye-Lawler and punished the killer of the late Mr. Brown.
The Weah government will need to create a safe environment in which the Press can function without intimidation or fear of death. The Weah government shouldn’t make Liberia unsafe for its citizens and the press. The regimes of the late Doe and former President Taylor were brought down by multiple factors including their vicious crackdown on the press. The hints to the wise are sufficient, Mr. President.