6 May 2014

Liberia: PUL Disagrees With Gov't

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has disagreed with the Liberian Government on its recent warning that media houses failing to renew their operating permits will face revocation.

The Press Union believes that such posture points to a high degree of intolerance that does not seem to be in agreement with government's professed commitment to working for a free media.

PUL President K. Abdullai Kamara said while the country is speaking on the development of the leeward county, the media must be free enough to discuss the problems of ordinary people without any fear of getting ejected.

Mr. Kamara was speaking over the weekend in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County, at programs marking this year's celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

Kamara observed that statements from government prior to the World Press Freedom Day have been appalling, indicating discomfort with freedom of information regime.

According to him, public officials need to have a structured approach to responding to issues that impact freedom of expression, which either indicate a hypocritical response to press freedom or an ignorance of the issues which underpin a free press.

He noted that the approach of threatening seizure, closure or ejection being projected by high ranking government officials is a disturbing trend of exclusion that is running in the country today.

Mr. Kamara: "This is just bad, and represents an adverse response to the concept of reconciliation and unification that almost all ordinary Liberians think our country should be headed".

Kamara said when a post conflict nation begins to pursue any agenda - political, development or economic, the precept of excluding any one party or another will indicate that the country is not ready yet.

However, Kamara said the PUL cannot agree any further that there are some journalists, whose works bring their credibility to question, noting that this is also true of lawyers, doctors, mechanics and teachers.

Notwithstanding, Kamara noted that there are Liberian journalists who are recognized daily for their efforts and the professionalism they put in their work.

Mr. Kamara said PUL remains committed to strengthening self regulation mechanism in media profession by naming and shaming bad journalists.

He noted that when the Press Union names a journalist as a conscientious defaulter, others must take heed and work with them cautiously.

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