INDEPENDENCE Day Statement
(MONROVIA-LIBERIA, July 25, 2018)-The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) says, it is keenly following with great interest recent developments in Liberia, as regards the current economic situation that is affecting the survival of the Liberian people.
In an INDEPENDENCE Day statement issued in Monrovia, following a leadership meeting, the Liberian media chiefs said amid the early incumbency of President George Manneh Weah’s administration, the current situation in the country is alarming with devastating consequences on the suffering ordinary people.
The Publishers Association further state that this administration which is an embodiment of several middle-class individuals who have been campaigning for a better Liberia, should desist from the old government’s posture of abuse and waste in the public domain and urge the Liberian government to take concrete steps aimed at reviving the country’s ailing economy.
The PAL noted with dismay that while majority of Liberians are going to bed without food, public officials are luxuriously having “fine time” by chartering hotels and buying properties without any assets declaration at the expense of the government; and by all indications, this undermines the popular “PRO-POOR” Agenda.
PAL indicates that the Weah-led administration should reduce waste and abuse by cutting down their respective “convoys,” unnecessary foreign travels, relocate officials from hotels to homes and pay out some domestic debts to stimulate the economy.
The Newspaper owners at the same time, believes that since journalists are Liberians, it was necessary to guide the Weah-led administration of noticeable wasteful activities and rather invest in the promotion of people-oriented programs that would reduce poverty.
Hence, the Publishers maintain that they are equally going through serious financial strains to underwrite the huge overhead cost of printing, fuel, newsprints, and salaries of employees in the face of government’s neglect of the independent press that could form genuine partnership in the development drive of the country.
PAL said while is prudent for journalists to be professional and loyal to their country, the government must equally play its part in prioritizing media empowerment by strengthening their capacity economically, because the association thinks that the Liberian press has come a long way in fighting against these forms of censorship by using the same scare tactics of the past administrations, to strangulate the media economically or deny majority of newspaper advertisements; simply, because of critical reportage of malpractices in government.
The Association indicated in its statement to the Nation that its concerns are meant in aiding the government in the attainment of democratic governance which calls for progressive media participation, rule of law, transparency and accountability, which the media group says, it is willing to perform to sustain the country’s hard-earned peace.
Meanwhile, the Publishers Association of Liberia said while it upholds the tenets of democratic governance, it admonished all newspaper owners to be guided by the ethics of professional journalism which entail balanced and fair reporting in the discharge of their respective duties.