The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: PUL Concerned About Low Salaries for Journalists

The Press Union of Liberia's president has alarmed over the low salaries given to journalists in the country.

Speaking recently in Gbarpolu in celebrating this year's World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Abdullah A. Kamara observed that several journalists are not justly compensated in their various institutions, a situation he frowned on.

Mr. Kamara said government and the public need to reaffirm their commitment to press freedom and related freedoms, because according to him, it was fair to talk about the challenges and opportunities available for media and journalists across the world, but also to strengthen their reportage of issues that affect the world.

"For today's observance, the Press Union of Liberia is emphasizing poverty and development in our country, and how the media can effectively engage these issues to help make Liberia better," Mr. Kamara stated.

According to him, development is key and still outstanding in our country."Our choice of Gbarpolu for the World Press Freedom Day is a simple reflection of the reality that no segment of our country can go forward without the other; journalists in Liberia cannot be effectively reporting development if the issues are mainly about the government in Monrovia," Mr. Kamara averred.

He said, just as places like Gou Wolaila and Belle remain isolated in the Liberian governance and practices, the issues that affect them are also not reported. "We can never be moving forward with such a mentality, when the reality dawned that we should observe World Press Freedom Day in a backwater county like Gbarpolu," Mr. Kamara stated.

He stated further that the concept also dawned that the observance should include real live reportage of mining in Weasua and Waiyama and Henry Town; which he said are still isolated areas like Belle Yealla; historic mosaics like Bopolu, and the mountainous forests of Kongba.

"We are here, and are glad that the county people and officials saw our point as worthwhile; the challenge now is for the journalists not to only report the mundane circumstances in Gbarpolu, but to follow up these concerns and see what changes these reports will bring to the county," Mr. Kamara stated.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kamara has spoken about Media Ethics & Professionalism. According to him one can agree that there are some journalists whose works bring their credibility to question.

He said, "This is also true of lawyers, doctors, mechanics and teachers; notwithstanding, there are Liberian journalists who are always recognized for the effort and professionalism they put in their work."

Meanwhile, the PUL Boss has paid tribute to his predecessor, former Press Union of Liberia President, Peter Quaqua, for his election as president of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) and Ms. Wade Williams for her selection to the Global World Press Freedom Day Panel at the United Nations General Assembly."We must applaud them for their preferment," Mr. Kamara stated.

"We also like to recognize Mr. Rodney Sieh of the Front Page Africa Newspaper on his selection as one of 100 Information Champions by the Global Freedom of Press Organization - Reporters Sans Frontiers; this is truly meritorious," Mr. Kamara stated.

Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia has protested the flogging and robbing of Journalist Benson Whea by officers of the Liberia National Police. According to the PUL; regardless of the circumstances surrounding Whea's arrest, no one can manhandle someone with no weapons and not putting up any resistance.

The PUL release is further quoted as saying that the loss of his shoes and other materials within minutes of the journalists arrest was regrettable.

"The work of the Police must reflect the resources committed to its development by insisting upon professionalism in all aspects of its work," Mr. Kamara intimated.

According to Mr. Kamara, a complaint filed against officers of the Liberia National Police for manhandling and destroying materials belonging to Journalist Papie Kollie, the PUL has fully cooperated with the Professional Standards Division, and is yet to get the result of the investigation.

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