28 January 2013

Liberia: Boycott Is Not the Way Out


A Group Of local media practitioners are calling on their colleagues from other institutions to boycott tomorrow's high level panel conference on the post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The international forum will no doubt be graced by bigwigs from around the world.

Tuesday's Conference will be the first high profile occasion held in Liberia since 1979 when leaders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU) gathered here to discuss the future of the continent. The OAU conference came at the time Liberia was gradually slithering into conflict and a year following that event, the coup took place. Today, the rest is history.

Forlornly, Since That time Liberia has been embroiled in violent conflict which ended in 2003. Ten years on, Liberia has remained stable under the regime of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Despite success story of this poverty stricken nation, huge challenges remain. However, the Sirleaf government cannot single-handedly carry the credit, but our international partners including ECOWAS, AU, United Nations, United States, Great Britain, China, European Union and the list go on.

While Liberians Appeal excited by the coming conference, the reality is several issues remain unaddressed. One of such is the justice system of Liberia. The lack of transparency in the adjudication of some cases is a matter of concern.

Last Week, Some members of the Liberian media decided to stage a boycott of the MDGs conference. They are protesting the manner in which the case of journalist Darlington Pelenah, News Director of King's FM is being handled by the trial judge.

While These Journalists are calling for boycott, the President of the Press Union of Liberia is encouraging local media workers not to stay away from the conference, because to do so, would be a denial of the Liberian people right to know exactly what would be obtaining at the conference.

Hence, He Suggested that the conference be given maximum coverage in the interest of the public.

As Media Institution, we subscribe to the school of taught which calls for the dissemination of information without harassment or intimidation. We urge our colleagues to abandon their planned boycott action and allow the due process to function instead of circumventing the law.

We Believe The journalists who are advocating for boycott have made a point by raising voices and citing what they perceived as wrong in the justice system. However, we hold the view that boycott is not the way to proceed.

This Conference Is an opportunity for Liberia to make a case before the glare of the world body. The issues of poverty reduction (and how we manage our rich natural resources as Africa nations) are reasons why the world has decided to come to Liberia.

For Us, We see this conference as an indication that Liberia has made tremendous progress - from a rogue state - in ten years since the war ended in 2003. We must not squander this glorious opportunity. We need to give the due process a chance.

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