Wrong Signal For Liberian Media
-UN, AU, ECOWAS Detest Bad Journalism
The upsurge of yellow journalism characterized by flagrant this regard of professional media practices as well as abuse of freedom of speech amongst media practitioners and civil society actors in Liberia have claimed the attention of the International Community.
Unprecedentedly, representatives of the international bodies in Liberia, including the United Nations (UN); the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have issued a joint statement last week expressing grave concern on what they considered as “inciting messages”.Although it is not clear which particular inciting message and from whom that claimed the immediate attention of the international bodies, there are reports that some individuals hiding under the canopy of the media are calling for the violent removal of the sitting President.
But it appears very clear that the UN, AU and ECOWAS would not sit idle to allow their efforts to go down the drain just to satisfy those who are or want to ferment violence in the country that is still struggling to overcome the tragedy of 14-year civil bedlam.
Responding to the new wave of creeping Rwanda style of journalism in Liberia, the UN, AU Liaison Office and the Office of the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia have condemned such practice, including the misuse of social media platforms.
“Liberia has taken great strides in building peace and stability. It is encouraging that the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom was recently passed by the Legislature, ensuring that all Liberians are entitled to all the protection that this new law extends,” the groups said in their statement.
They added: “It is important that all Liberians respect all the laws and exercise their rights freely, but always in a manner that carries responsibility towards other people and towards the nation.”
According to them, “this is a time that all Liberians need to come together to ensure that the hard won peace is sustained and a greater focus on the development of Liberia should be paramount, rather than media messages that distract and promote violence”.
The international groups have condemned all such media messages that threaten peace and stability of Liberia and called on all to take immediate steps to refrain from acts and utterances that are hostile to peace and stability in Liberia.
“We shall continue to closely follow the media as well as the political climate, and remain committed to supporting the people and Government of Liberia in all their endeavors for a peaceful country,” the statement noted.
This latest move of the International community is unprecedented in recent Liberian media history; before then, it was the government that was in the wrong but now, it is the media that is being caught for wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, up to press time, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) is yet to respond to the latest concern from the International bodies.