One of the primary roles of the media in any society is to set agenda or influence the course of things in the interest of the people. For some times now in Liberia, the media has been very instrumental as it relates to the aforementioned. But in recent times, the sector has been thriving on a divisive path within itself.
Even the Press Union of Liberia, which should be holding together journalists, newspapers, radio and television stations that are its individual and institutional members, seems far from its unity of purpose known by the general public. The PUL has been rocked by the issues of integrity and manipulation among some of its members arising out of the Sports Writers Association and a so-called Majority Bloc.
Since the mysterious death of Mr. Harry Greaves – one time Managing Director of the Liberia Petrol Refining Company or LPRC, the media’s position as it relates to its reportage, continues to widen the split within the sector, with some journalists and institutions branded anti-government and the other, regime journalists.
For us, the continuation of such unfortunate situation is only an infringement of our good journalistic principles and integrity. While we do appreciate the positive intervention of the Publishers Association of Liberia in mending the fences, the leadership of the Union itself must, in turn, keep its hands and be on top of things with its members.
The leadership of the PUL must be very proactive in ensuring that its members involve med in the current war of words on the social media and radio stations disengaged or made to face punitive actions in accordance of the union’s Constitution and Code of Ethics.
As we encourage the PUL Leadership in this regard, our colleagues in the electronic media engaged in this war of words over the ‘Harry Greaves Affair’ must be conscious of the fact that there are still ‘days ahead’; and at the end of the day, the ‘Harry Greaves Issue’ will, anyhow somehow, be laid to rest, while ‘tomorrow’ will be a new day.
Inasmuch we do understand the sentiments characterizing the current ‘Harry Greaves Affair’, journalists and media institutions must exercise the highest degree of professional caution and responsibility in their reportage, in consonance with media ethics and good journalistic principles.
We are in full agreement with the fact that newspapers, radio stations and television stations must go beyond the news on the surface, but such extent must be characterized by facts exactitude in keeping with ethical standards, while we admonish colleagues of ours in the electronic media to exercise professional care and responsibility in their expressed opinions on what their colleagues had reported or expressed.
The public must be made to understand that journalists and media institutions are united under one umbrella – and that’s the Press Union of Liberia, and not anti-regime or regime journalism. It is now incumbent on us – the PUL Leadership, Publishers Association, media elders, as well as Reporters Association, among other media auxiliary groups, to face the challenge of arresting attempts aimed at creating division within the media.
And such initiative must be done without fear or favor of any journalist, media outlet or media stakeholder – a challenge that restore a sense of purpose within the media landscape of Liberia.