The Inquirer (Monrovia)

4 January 2013

Liberia: Journalist Wants Action Against Piracy

The unauthorized duplication of an original writing or recording for commercial gain without the consent of the right owner has touched the hearts of the Managing Editor of the INQUIRER Newspaper, Mr. Philip N. Wesseh with a call on national authorities to immediately halt the unwholesome practice.

Speaking as Chief Launcher at the official program marking the formal launch of a new book titled, "Liberia's Emerging Democracy" written by a Liberian Diplomat, Josephus Moses. Gray, Mr. Wesseh said the act of what he referred to as "intellectual theft" is hampering Liberian writers and other talented individuals.

Mr. Wesseh expressed fear that if nothing is done to curtail the deliberate infringement of copyright for commercial sale; those Liberian writers who are persevering to inform the larger society may become discouraged.

The INQUIRER boss lauded Mr. Gray, the author of the book because according to him, Mr. Gray is a product of the INQUIRER who was recruited from high school. He showered praises on his institution for being the only media house in Liberia to produce three reporters who have written books. He named Gabriel Williams of the Liberian Embassy in the US, Gregory Stenm and Josephus Gray.

Commenting on the culture of reading, Mr. Wesseh wants the Ministry of Education to ensure that the book be taught in our school system because he observed that reading is dying down slowly among Liberian students.

Delivering a special statement, a Liberian historian and professor at both the University of Liberia and Cuttington University, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu told the audience that the writing of books demonstrates that Liberians must begin to read and know more about themselves.

Dr. Guannu acknowledged that it is not an easy task to write because it consumes time and energy and one must possess all the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to write. He lauded Mr. Gray who he once taught at the UL Graduate School for the publication of the book which is inspiring and has a message to be told.

Dr. Guannu proposed that political authority takes the responsibility of citizens' welfare because when elected by the people, a social contract has been signed with you (the authority) and the people for the improvement of their lives. He however encouraged the media to be vigilant in supporting the welfare of the people while the Civil Society Organizations should follow the steps of government in providing grants for Liberians who are interested in writing.

For his part, the author of the book, Mr. Gray disclosed that the idea of writing a book started about two years ago when he was Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He started first by making intensive research on what he wanted to know and do but later got an assignment to serve at the Liberian Embassy in Paris, France.

As a young man, Mr. Gray said it is always prudent to face the challenges in life in order to reach a successful benchmark. He encouraged Journalists and those desiring to write to continue self-perseverance.

The book according to him is a reflection of the 14-year civil crisis which brings about the title of the book "Liberia's Emerging Democracy". The book talks about the role of Liberian women during the war and the roadmap to the country's peace process including the attendance of various "Peace Accords" that took place. It also highlights the major role of the media during the war beginning 1989 to the first election that brought former President Charles Taylor to power.

In addition, the book unveils the important role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its military troop ECOMOG and UNMIL in Liberia and the achievements of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration among others.

Few copies of the book have been distributed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information, University of Liberia, the Cuttington University, Press Union of Liberia, Tubman University among others. The book is expected to be free of charge for now with additional copies underway to be distributed to media houses by the PUL.

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