Media Executives React to New Guidelines

By Lewis Glay.

Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted March 8, 2005

As the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), in conjunction with the Ministry of Information embarks on setting the hard code of standards for the Liberian Media, there are variant views amongst media executives.

Five institutions whose editors chatted with the FORUM recently commented on the proposed draft with specific emphasis.

The Editor- in- Chief of the Analyst, Abdullah Dukuly wondered whether the exercise was not meant to rid people with requisite knowledge out of the profession. He noted that even in Great Britain there are people who did not attend college but are in the profession and performing very well.

Mr. Dukuly said, if he were asked to advance a proposal before drafting the guidelines, he would have told those behind the exercise to thoroughly review the past activities of certain journalists in the society before arriving at any conclusion. “ I share the view that there are people who masquerade and blackmail others but this should not give those who drafted the guidelines the leverage to go across the board,” he stressed.

Timothy Seakolon, News Editor of the Inquirer said, the guidelines are correct. “But journalists should also debate it for the right thing to be done.”

Mr. Seakolon however said the only problem he sees is that the architects of the guidelines should specify the disciplines in which Managing Editors and Editors-in-Chief should obtain degree especially those that have to be related to journalism.

The Editor-in Chief of the Heritage, Alfred Chea said the guidelines set by the PUL and the Ministry of Information is very clear because it is intended to bring out high quality of professionalism in the field of journalism in Liberia.

“ Before anyone can assume the responsibility of Editor-in Chief or Managing Editor, that person should obtain BA, or BSC in any discipline to be qualified for either position.”

“ I don’t think the exercise is meant to marginalize any one, so let those institutions that have been existing before cooperate with the incoming guidelines for improvement,” he said.

The Vanguard Associate Editor Cheechiay Jablasone said, he thinks the guidelines should be for incoming papers and not those that are already in existence. “The PUL and the Ministry of Information should tell the media about how they are going to set the standards.”

For him, long term experience and good performance should not be nullified. “We need not open Pandora’s box”. Mr. Jablasone himself a mass communicator with degree in the profession, said there are journalists or publishers who run papers as if they were managing editors all due to long time experience.

But the EVIDENCE Administrator/Business Manager McCall Dinsea wants the Information Ministry to provide financial capacity building for media institutions if the new guidelines should come into effect for the common good of the Liberian media.

He said his institution has qualified personnel and as such, he is not worried over the ongoing exercise.
Mr. Dinsea argued that if the trend of journalism in Liberia is below standard then the Ministry of Information should be held responsible because according to him it accredited those papers, which are currently operating in the country.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.