The Inquirer (Monrovia)

21 November 2012

Liberia: PUL Begins Media Defense, Safety Training for Editors

Forty radio, television and newspaper editors yesterday began a three-day media law and ethics training in Monrovia under the auspices of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).The training is part of a one year "Media Defense and Safety of Journalists Project" sponsored by UNESCO.

PUL says the training is a testimonial in the Union's strategic vision for the defense of journalists, as it seeks to further enhance and entrench its position on ethical journalism in Liberia.

The project will also allow the PUL to contribute meaningfully towards creating legal consciousness among journalists and editors in an effort to develop a freer press in Liberia, in the wake of the increase in the number of lawsuits and complaints against the Media.

While describing most of the recent cases as "intimidating suits" intended to scare the media, Press Union President Peter Quaqua agrees that some of the suits are rightly justified, because "Some journalists are guilty of the willful disregard of the truth and failure to apply due diligence in their work."

Mr. Quaqua however warned that "any kind of suit against the media is a potential threat to our desire for press freedom. Hence, we must act as a collective guarantor of our own defense and safety through ethical initiatives and self regulation."

The three-day event will also formalize the establishment of a legal defense team to make representation for journalists and media houses in court, reorganize the Editors' Guild and a monthly editors' meeting/forum to do a critical self-assessment and networking on ethical challenges in the newsroom with the hope of strengthening the Union's self regulatory regime.

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