Monrovia — Panelists at the Wednesday, June 9, 2021 edition of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) flagship intellectual symposium, the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum have identified an independent and strong media as a catalyst for driving national growth and development.
The PUL staged the forum in partnership with the Volunteers for Sustainable Development in Africa - VOSIEDA and the Department of Communications and Media Studies at the University of Liberia at the I-campus on Carey Street in Monrovia.
The forum was held under theme: "Strengthening Independent Media and Freedom of information in Liberia ".
Serving as panelists were Mulugeta Abebe, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tetee Karneh, Manager Spoon Communications Network and Attorney. Alphonsus Zeon, a media specialist.
Reflecting on what she terms more ten decades of the contributions of the media to Liberia's growth and development, Madam Kanneh observed that the Liberian has always played a pivotal in helping the country in its orbit from a period crisis to a period of democratic governance and peace.
"It is without an ounce of doubt that the media has been a crucial player in Liberia's development and peace consolidation efforts. " Karneh said while recounting her own experience along with other journalists in covering the disarmament of former combatants of the country's civil war.
"The media was all out in helping the country transitioned from war to peace and from peace to development. " Karneh added.
She however said while such an enviable role of the media is always applauded; the dignity of media practitioners cannot be overemphasized.
"Journalists need better remuneration for the job, we do. "Stressed Karneh as she addressed the audience at I-Campus in Monrovia.
"The dignity of the journalists often impact on the quality of work media practitioners deliver to the society. "
"The way we [journalists] treat ourselves as journalists sends a message on how we want the society to see us [journalists]." The Spoon Communications Network Manager asserted.
She challenged her colleagues in the media to help facilitate public discourses in way that help inform national development and transformation.
"As journalists we should use our various outlets or platforms to facilitate discussions that help inform public decisions and policies for the greater good of the society. " Karneh pointed out.
Atty. Alphonsus Zeon commended efforts by President George Weah to improve the media climate in Liberia; citing the signing into law of the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Press Freedom Act as an example.
Atty. Zeon was quick to note that such efforts were being undermine by reports of persistent attacks on media practitioners by state actors ; especially those in the security sector.