Media War Opens Between Catholic Human Rights Commission and Liberian Daily

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 3, 2003

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) wishes to clarify that the story carried in the Wednesday, April 30, 2003, Volume 6, Number 107 Edition in the Monrovia Guardian Newspaper, captioned: "For Allegedly Performing Poorly: JPC Loses Foreign Grant?" based on "wide rumors" is purely intended to embarrass the JPC and cast aspersion on the good image the Commission has earned for itself locally and internationally over the years.

According to a release issued yesterday, the JPC said at no time did it receive any information "with shock" from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or from any other source, for that matter, to the effect that the Commission is disqualified under the NED’s Grant for Liberia for "poor performance" as the writer of the story wants the public to believe.

Instead, it was the reporter who in fact told the JPC’s Assistant National Director, Onesimus Banwon, that he (Alphonso Nyanti) had documentary evidence in his possession indicating that the NED had dropped the JPC and the Liberia Women Initiative (LWI) from its list of grantees in Liberia. It is therefore contradictory for Mr. Nyanti to base his news story on "wide rumors" and "scanty information" without any reference to the documentary evidence he claimed to have possessed.

The Management of the Monrovia Guardian Newspaper would have currently done justice to the reading public and the journalism profession had it compelled the reporter, Alphonso Nyanti, to go beyond the "wide rumors" and "scanty information" upon which he based his story so as to substantiate and corroborate the facts before publication.

Such speculative reporting, as in the instant case, has a semblance of malice, as it only tends to malign the subject of the report. It also brings into question the credibility of the media institution involved in such unprofessional reporting. As one of its media partners, the JPC calls on the Monrovia Guardian Newspaper to always verify any and all information regarding the Commission before publication.

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