The Press Union of Liberia has suspended membership of journalist Rufus Paul for six months. The decision follows a recommendation of the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Union, which found Rufus liable for deception and bringing the PUL to public disrepute.
During the period, he will not take part in any of the Union’s activities and is barred from entering its premises. Rufus is suspended in connection with a so-called “PUL Prestigious Award” he organized on Friday, February 13 under the banner, “National Publisher and Broadcasters Association of Liberia”
The Committee found Paul liable for deception by not only operating an association not recognized by the Union but also hosting a so-called “PUL Prestigious Educator of The Year Award”. Evidence adduced against him includes souvenir program, T-shirts and banners displayed at said event.
Same time the PUL has ended a two-day training of trainers’ workshop in Monrovia, challenging participants to use the knowledge and skills acquired to improve journalism in Liberia.
Speaking Wednesday, PUL President K. Abdullai Kamara, underscored the need for more training for journalists in the country to enable them catch up with evolving challenges, including professionalism.
The training was sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), under the theme “Strengthening Accountable and Responsible Journalism by Media Professionals.” Kamara said it was aimed at empowering the 13 participants with skills and knowledge to help breed young journalists.
The participants will form part of the PUL’s database of trainers, who will participate in the Union’s long-term training programs to enable Liberian journalists professionally write the full Liberian story.
The leadership of the PUL believes that one of the best ways to strengthen accountable and responsible journalism in the media is through the establishment of a formal training facility as envisaged in the Union’s three-year strategic direction launched in March.
Meanwhile, the PUL has welcomed the U.S. State Department’s latest report on the Liberian media. The report, among other things, points out unprofessionalism in the media, including publication of planted and paid news stories as well as suppression of stories for fear by some media houses.
Kamara said the report was welcoming and the media should use it to improve, describing it as a positive criticism. He said the media has used the same report in the past to judge the government and others, and it was time for the media itself to see the report in good faith, now that it has comes under the spotlight. By Ethel A. Tweh – Editing by Jonathan Browne