Journalism is a social disciple which focuses on information gathering and dissemination through various outlets, including radio and newspaper. Like other countries in Africa, newspapers, Television, as well as radio stations, among other outlets are established for various reasons, including the actual purpose of providing accurate, balanced and clear information to the public.
Such process works in consonance with a Code of Ethics which guides against vices that do not only expose this noble profession to public ridicule, but create unfavorable and chaotic situations for the government and people.
In Liberia, recruitments into the profession and establishment of media outlets may not really be on the basis of professionalism – ‘anybody can be a journalist, even without the passion’; anybody can establish a radio or television station or even a newspaper devoid of the necessary professional rudiments – but again, that’s how the government has always wanted it to be, especially for the last eleven years.
From time to time and in recent times, fingers continue to be pointed at Liberian Journalism, probably, for the wrong reasons. Issues/stories raised media practitioners in the newspapers and on the radio are most often described by some public officials or their surrogates as extortion, blackmail and all of the negative adjectives anyone can imagine. And the irony about all of these condemnation of Liberian journalists is that it is these same public officials or their surrogates who pass on sensitive information and documents – financial and other communications, to those they consider their friends and ‘consultants’ in the media against their colleagues and other entities for personal reasons. This is an open fact – listen to the radio and hear talk show hosts and others read these sensitive communications to the public’ also read these communications in newspaper and you’ll most often see how irresponsible and mischievous some public officials are.
Some of these same public officials are even credited for sponsoring telephone calls to talk shows to push in their interests and agendas, and today, the air-wave is saturated with unrefined, uncontrollable and unguided phone-in comments, And when the tides turn against these public officials, they brand Liberian journalists all sorts of negative adjectives as previously mentioned.
But again, who makes the journalists bad? Of course, the same government officials who always want to get at the adversaries and other perceived enemies. When they actually need the journalists to do the “dirty”, they provide all of the necessary inducements, including attractive cash, to achieve such objective(s) – listen to or just follow most of the radio programs, including talk shows and it wouldn’t take you any time to determine the nature or trends of such presentations.
But don’t blame these public officials – blame the journalists themselves. Their desperation for ‘fast money’ everyday pushes them into such inducements without careful and professional analysis of what they are programmed to do on the radio.
Sincerely, even those who claim to be professional, intentionally engage in such mercenary journalism because they want to make ‘fast money’ to support certain bad social habits on a daily basis – that’s. And so, why it is an agreeable fact that most of the journalists lend credence to what public officials may be doing to each other and other high profile political leaders, public officials – whether or not at the level, truly make journalists bad, and it is equally a betrayal and disservice not only to the Liberian media sector, but the people to identify Liberian journalists with such negative descriptive adjectives.
And that doesn’t mean that they (the journalists) are not responsible for this MESS with which this noble profession is now engulfed in present-day Liberia.