Liberian Media Urged to Play Crucial Role In Transitional Government


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted October 3, 2003

Civil society representative- elect to the National Transitional Assembly of Liberia(NTAL), Mr. Commany Wesseh and the Ghanaian ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Mr. Kwame Amoah-Awua have spoken on the role of the Liberian media as the country enters the transitional period.
Both men speaking at a special edition of the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum, organized to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) yesterday, said the Liberian media has a cardinal role to play in the transitional period.

They spoke on the topic: "The Media in the Transitional Period", at the forum which was held at the PUL’s Clay Street headquarters.

Ghanaian Ambassador Amoah-Awua, who was the first speaker, said the work of the media during this transitional period can affect or promote the peace process.

The West African diplomat said media practitioners are well placed to write and inform the public and the international community as regard the work of the Joint Cease-fire Monitoring Committee (JMC), saying "the press must strive to be represented at JMC meetings."

He then challenged the Liberian media to highlight the provisions of the Accra peace accord on Liberia if the public must be adequately informed.

He called on the media to join to fight against impunity and promote the rule of law. He also urged the media to ensure that there is accountability in government.

Ambassador Amoah-Awua said the media must ensure that any agreement entered into by the in-coming N TGL is non-monopolistic.

"The media must microscope the work of the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) and non-governmental organizations, and ensure that they work to the aspiration of the NTGL and the people of Liberia" he said.

He stressed the need for members of the Liberian media to be specialized and become experts on topics in politics, health etc.

The Ghanian ambassador also called for the removal of laws that are impeding the work of the media in the country.

For his part, Mr. Commany Wesseh urged the media to be the "watch-dog" in a true sense of the word, saying "watch the legislature, the entire transitional government, the international community, the peace keepers and the NGO community.

He said the media must also carry out self examination, saying " don’t be factional journalists but democratic journalists for the good of society."

Mr. Wesseh then challenged the media to say no to dictatorship, never to muscling the press and never to war.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.