By: Augustine N. Myers – Members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) have for the first time conducted a National Congress under the theme, “Positioning the Media to Strengthen Democracy in Liberia”, and have equally elected a new corps of officers to steer the affairs of the Union for the next three years.
The two-day event which was held at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary in Paynesville, near the nation’s Capital, Monrovia, brought together hundreds of journalists from across Liberia who met on November 12-13, 2010 to discuss the role of the media as the Nation prepares for general and presidential elections in 2011.
United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Linda Thomas Greenfield serving as key-note speaker at the start of the Congress, warned Liberian Journalists against the practice of “Check book” journalism that could plunge the Nation into another round of violence.
She said corruption was not only practiced by politicians, but everyone and urged journalists not to allow themselves to be used against ethical practices.
According to her, Liberians and the international community will continue to depend on Liberian journalists to remain objective in their reportage, as the Country moves towards the 2011 general and presidential elections.
The U.S Ambassador challenged Liberian journalists to remain focused in contributing to the strengthening of democracy in Liberia, as part of continuous efforts to promote the essence of democracy in Liberia, a Nation gradually recovering from years of war and destruction.
She said, for two years the PUL advocated for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, pointing out that press freedom is a victory for democracy in Liberia.
Meanwhile, Members of the Union have elected a new leadership as part of the Union’s first National Congress. The Union’s incumbent President, Peter Quaqua retained power when he secured a resounding victory in an election considered generally peaceful.
Others elected include Mrs. Malissa Chea-Annan – Vice President, Charles B. Coffey, Jr. – Secretary General, and Julius Kanubah – Assistant Secretary General.
Mr. Quaqua on behalf of his team commanded members of the Union for the confidence reposed in them, and called on Liberian media practitioners to hold together, and work with the new leadership to move the Country forward.