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RCI rejects reporter’s revocation

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The Management of Renaissance Communication Incorporated (RCI) rejects revocation of the accreditation of its reporter Musa Kanneh by the House of Representatives.

Deputy Director General for Broadcasting at RCI Abraham W. Wheon notes that, prior to the unwarranted action, there has been no official complaint against Reporter Kenneh’s performance, especially his inability to provide effective and professional coverage at the House of Representatives since his assignment at the
Legislature.

In a letter addressed to the Director of Press of the House of Representatives, Mr. Wheon says the decision to replace Reporter Kanneh at the Legislature, which is a public entity, does not fall within the purview of the Press and Public Affairs Bureau of the House, rather, it is the RCI Management’s singular prerogative to do so void of political influence.

“The RCI Management was not treated with due diligence within the context of mutual respect and a culture of harmonious relationship between our respective institutions”, the statement reads.

The RCI Management maintains that it still enjoys the confidence of Reporter Musa Kenneh to continue providing coverage at the House of Representatives and the Legislature at large as opposed to “your politically-motivated approach” in total disregard to the role of the Media at that august body.

The Reporters Association of Liberia or RAL, a media body in the country warns House Speaker Bhofal Chambers to stop harassing and intimidating independent reporters providing coverage at the House of Representatives.

The umbrella organization of reporters says the Speaker’s continuous hatred for journalists covering the House clearly contradicts President George Manneh Weah’s professed commitment to freedom of speech and the press.

In a statement, RAL describes Speaker Chambers’ recently sanctioned communication for the revocation of Truth FM Reporter Musa Kanneh as unjustifiable, noting that the Speaker lacks authority to revoke any reporter’s accreditation based on his/her critical reportage.

RAL further argues that only on unethical grounds a reporter’s accreditation could be revoked, and such revocation should be channeled through the reporter’s institution of work.

Last week, the House Press Bureau, acting on Speaker Bhofal Chambers’
order, demanded the Management of Truth FM to revoke its reporter Musa
Kanneh’s accreditation for what it calls repetitive reporting.
The Bureau revoked accreditation of four members of the Legislative Press Pool or LEGISPOL, at the House of Representatives.

Speaker Chambers is on record of attacking reporters, including Nathaniel
Daygbor of The New Dawn, Henry Karmo of FrontPage Africa and Jackson Clay
of New Republic newspapers for reporting a story that did not favor
him.

RAL says it is unfortunate that Chambers, who was critical against former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, enjoying free speech, will allow himself to be engulfed by power and become intolerant to the same free speech now.
Meanwhile, the group calls on its members covering the House of
Representatives to remind unbending in reporting happenings at the
House in strict compliance with professionalism, rather than succumb to
intimidation.

It urges the Press Union of Liberia to intervene in the current situation
so that the government’s professed free press agenda will not be
tainted by the Speaker’s action.

In his letter announcing the revocation last week, Bureau head Isaac G. Reed said as a matter of improving relationship with media institutions and inviting quality to the output of coverage to the public and the Legislature, they have adopted a policy to infuse new reporters and remove those who were redundant and repetitive in their reportage.

He said they have observed over the past time that there were some reporters who have over stayed and adapted a redundant star of reporting and repeating one thing over and over that does not make any sense to the public, so based on feedback, they took the decision to revoke accreditation of four reporters. Press release

By Bridgett Milton

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