U.S. Based Journalist Wants International Community Strengthen Liberian Media

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 10, 2004

In the face of global efforts for the restoration of listen peace and stability in this tiny West African state of Liberia, a Liberian journalist and author based in the United State of America, has called on governments within the international community to help develop and strengthen the Liberian media outlets.

Mr. Gabriel I. H. Williams, former Secretary-General who is currently in Monrovia on a weeklong tour of West African described the nation’s independent press as a “ touch-bearer”.

Mr. Williams said the Liberia press needs assistance if the media is to play its role as a custodian of democracy.

Mr. Williams made the statement at the offices of the Press Union of Liberia on 4 May when he paid a courtesy call on the leadership of the union.

Commenting on wide range of issues relative to free press in the country, the former Secretary-General of PUL called for the changing of laws that impede press freedom. He also called on the minister of Information, Dr. C. William Allen, to empower and build the press capacities, this he said require the support of the transitional government.

According Mr. Williams, the media cannot continue to operative with laws that are sub standard, adding that it is only the free press that can scrutinize the people. “ we have to remain vigorous to redeem our nation from the hands of tyrants”, the Liberian journalist noted, adding that the independent media in Liberia need all the best assistance if it is to play the role as one of the pillars of democracy.

Speaking further, Mr. Williams told the Union leadership that while on his assessment mission, he was able to visit several media institutions to familiarize himself with the conditions under which the media operates. He added that the Liberian journalists need support in the areas of training, better facilities and fellowships.

On behalf of Liberian journalists, the president of the Union, Mr. Terrence Sayzay lauded Mr. Williams for the visit and vividly gave account of constraint situation under which the media operates.

According to Mr. Sayzay, the Union needs assistance - with the major and pressing among the assistance being the printing press, Internet service and funds to enable the union develop the parcel of land for the PUL memberships.

Concluding, the PUL president said the Union has planned to hold a round table conference during which laws that affect media operations will be discussed.