21 November 2012

Liberia: Libel Suit Threatens Media

The President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Mr. Peter Quaqua Tuesday warned local journalists against libel suits, which he describes as a recipe that threatens the independence of the media.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day forum for Media Defense and Safety Training for Editors, Mr. Quaqua warned journalists to cross check their facts and research their articles before publication.

He stressed the need for journalists to be mindful of quacks among them who just want to infiltrate the media to achieve their objectives at the expense of professionalism.

"Gentlemen, this is a professional job and should be done with honor and professionalism. We need to properly check our facts," Mr. Quaqua said, adding: the reading and listening audiences of the media need quality information about the country and other things.

Acknowledging the fact that the media landscape is fast developing in Liberia, Mr. Quaqua lamented that the inability or failure of journalists to crosscheck their facts poses serious challenges to the growth and development of the media.

Mr. Stevenson Seidi, officer-in-charge of UNCSCO, who formally opened the forum, said the signing of the Table Mountain Declaration in Liberia does not give Liberian journalists the right to do things that are unprofessional.

"You should keep your self-respect, integrity. You have a responsibility to your respective families, society and government," Mr. Seidi said.

He warned editors to gather facts, adding: "If you write negative things, negative things will come to this country."

Mr. Saidi said the core value of journalism is proper research before publication.

The forum aims at providing a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on the critical issues of libel and defamation, amongst other things.

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