The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism were created by an Act of the National Legislature in 1965. MICAT, for short, has a statutory responsibility to develop and disseminate information at home and abroad regarding the Government of Liberia. It seems from all intents and purposes that MICAT has either outlived its meaningfulness or those manning its affairs lacked considerable innovative and proactive ideas to cope with the changing dynamics of the 21st-century expectations.
What is very troubling is the fact that in MICAT’s so-called statutory responsibility, the phrase “cultural affairs and tourism” were conspicuously omitted, though the crafters claimed lawfully that the phrase “cultural affairs and tourism” are an integral segment of MICAT. Did the crafters of MICAT’s statutory law enlightenment thinkers, or were they simply some group of political hustlers who sought daily bread in the late 60s?
There is a clear professional standard and pragmatic demarcation between Information and the rudiments of cultures, Tourism, arts, and craft to say the least. Information is a professional service-oriented that changes rapidly with its holistic messaging trend of affairs which includes, communication and image building dynamics while culture, tourism arts, and craft are business-oriented and/or one of the numerous revenue-generating segments of government from a diverse economic perspective.
Information and culture affairs and tourism are two distinct career sectors. Cultures and tourism generate news development that should feed the information bank of the nation. Liberians who are put in charge should earn the requisite 21st-century Up-to-date modern skills or the entity will continue to be a busy noise-making instrument in Liberia. If authorities at the ministry are content with current deliverables since 1965 does not in any way imply that the ministry is good technically and professionally standing.
There is an urgent need to establish a “Culture and Tourism commission headed by an executive director with two principal deputies one for culture and another for Tourism, arts, and craft. This should not be any Liberian, but a highly skilled Liberian vast in cultural diversity backed by tourism credentials who knows the business. Both cultures and Tourism are equally potential revenue sectors of government. There are a lot of tourism sites in Liberia that can be developed to attract millions of visitors around the world with the help of international partners.
The ministry deserves an information technology reinforcement sector, to cope with the 21st-century modern communication and information requirements from a scientific and technical, communication agendum from abroad. The information has now become more scientific, diverse, measurable, and achievable elements globally.
It has transcended beyond mere talking, shouting, and having violence press conferences all over the place in the name of information dissemination—Liberia will need to wake-up from its professional slumbers by catching up with the 21st-century technical communication, scientific information dissemination, and the image construction of the nation.
The information ministry by itself does not only need a Liberian with a home base mass-communication degree, it needs highly skilled information professionals, information technicians, and communication scientists who must be trained abroad with 21st-century information and communication doctrine. Home base mass-com and journalism teaching and doctrines are definitively absolute and cannot meet up with present day information and communication challenges and realities even at home, needless talks about abroad.
This is a clear manifestation that the 60s was a dark chapter and so were the so-called lawmakers themselves who did not simply understand the waiving of their fingerprints. It is a fact that past and present information authorities have been staunch political stooges from time immemorial by the executive branch of government.
Those who crafted the Legislative act in 1965 were not in their right-thinking capacity. They may have subconsciously forgotten to understand that the core values of the act itself excluded the phrase ‘cultural and tourism’ from its statutory responsibility which focused largely on disseminating information at home and abroad about the Liberian Government.
Past information doctrines and communication teachings in the late 30s, 40s, and 60s are no longer relevant to the 21st-century scientific communication and technical information trends and its holistic market place, yet these age-old teaching doctrines and curriculums are still being taught to students at the University of Liberia and elsewhere in Liberia which has an enormous impact on graduates’ professional deliverable at home and abroad.