5 October 2007

Liberia: Journalists Meet ICJ in the U.S.

Monrovia — Eight Liberian journalists visiting the United States on Wednesday met with the International Center For Journalism (ICJ) in Washington DC. They were accompanied there by a visiting Fellow at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Michael Keating, a dispatch said on Thursday.

The journalists discussed the general media situation in Liberia with emphasis on the challenges being faced by the media as well as the need for immediate intervention so as to strengthen its efforts in sustaining Liberia's emerging democracy and promoting national developments.

They appealed to the ICJ to direct its energy toward strengthening the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Liberia by remodeling its curriculum and providing equipment to better prepare students, 80 percent of whom they said were practicing Journalists.

The need for short-term training programs for Rural Community Radio Station was also emphasized, considering the socio-economic and development needs of the local population they try to promote on their respective air-waves.

One of the visiting Journalists, George Barpeen of the Press Union of Liberia stressed the important role of women in the media, noting that it was important for the ICJ to assist the Press Union of Liberia in helping to empower them to excel in media leadership and meet up with other challenges in the Liberian media.

Another area of concern was for the organization to broaden its international fellowship programs for Liberia, commending it for its initial invitation to a Liberian Media Editor, Moses Gray.

The ICJ, in response committed itself to intervening in Liberia's media situation.

The Organization is meanwhile considering extending its Knight Fellowship to Liberia on a one-year program to build the capacity of practicing Liberian Journalists at various radio stations and Newspapers as well as Television stations in Management with emphasis on the development of Business plan, radio and TV Production as well as investigative Journalism.

The ICJ emphasized the urgent need for the PUL to help create the enabling environment for the ICJ to interact with the Liberian Media, including the Community Radio Network and women Journalists.

The President of the Press Union of Liberia, is leading a Liberian Media Delegation to the United States on a US State Department's Economic and cultural exchange program, under the auspices of the center for democracy and development at umass-boston.

He and the Executive Director of the Liberia Media Center, Lawrence Randall are presently in Washington DC for a week to build a case for support to the Liberian media. They were expected to meet with the World Bank and USAID on Thursday on seminar mission assisted by Mr. Michael Keating, a visiting Fellow at UMASS-Boston.

The other six Liberian Journalists have already been assigned at various Radio Stations and Newspapers in Boston, Massachusetts on internship.

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