Before the October 10 elections, the Code of Ethics, a guiding principle, was distributed among Liberian journalists. The distribution was part of efforts in refreshing journalists’ capacity during the electoral period.
According to section two of the Election Coverage, journalists, including talk show hosts, have a responsibility to be accurate and impartial in their coverage of the election issues and candidates, with all candidates given opportunities to be heard and questioned.
But observations have it that the core responsibility, which inculcates of these guiding principles are being ignored by Liberian journalists during this electoral period; something that may bring the Liberian media under serious disrepute if not urgently addressed.
Some journalists are observed using hate messages and combustible statements in newspapers, on radio stations, televisions and on social media, thus raising concerns; acts that portray them as partisan journalists.
The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) is not hesitant in expressing such grave concerns, which it sees as being counter-productive to the peace and stability of Liberia.
In a statement issued October 20, 2017, under the headline “PUL ON JOURNALISTS’ SAFETY & DEPORTMENT,” PUL warned the media in Liberia to end their increasing combustible posture during the 2017 presidential runoff.
The Union alarmed the news contents of some media institutions during the elections have been marred by opinions skewed in the interest of media owners who are mainly politicians. It pointed that social media has also seen destructive and vulgar rhetoric from journalists in support of rival political parties.
“The Press Union is therefore calling on its members and journalists in Liberia to refrain from dispositions which could tear down democratic gains made in Liberia,” the statement maintained.
PUL’s President, Charles B. Coffey, Jr. told a mass meeting of journalists in Monrovia Friday that media practitioners should avoid acts that will tarnish the reputation of journalism. Coffey expressed fears that current deportment of media practitioners could invite harm to their persons.
Violence against journalists, the Union said, is unacceptable, thus reminding the news media in Liberia to recognize its duty to the state.
The very principle of journalism “truth-telling” is being ignored shamefully by some journalists at the time when they are needed most.
The Press Union of Liberia’s latest statement carries the outcome of Friday’s mass meeting of journalists held on the safety and deportment of media professionals during the 2017 Elections.
Let The Will Of The People Prevail
FOLLOWING MONTHS OF intensive campaign for the presidency and representative seats in Liberia, Liberians have demonstrated their power in deciding the fate of their politicians.
THOUGH THERE ARE reported irregularities which some candidates have cried fouls over with threats of legal redress, and to some extent a call for re-run of election, we must hail Liberians for the peaceful atmosphere under which the elections were held across the country on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.
WE ARE EXTREMELY grateful to individual Liberians for electing their next 73 representatives, majority of whom will be new comers at the 54th National Legislature.
AS A MATTER fact, what we observed regarding the election of members of the House of Representatives in the 2017 elections is a repeat of what transpired in 2011 and 2014 elections, when majority of the lawmakers who sought re-election were ousted thereby signaling that the power is inherent in the people and not in those who serve them.
HOWEVER, WE STILL have the biggest decision to make, judging by the results so far being released for the presidency which no one presidential candidate has been able to secure 50 plus one percent of the total votes cast to be declared a winner.
YET, WE OWE it to our people as watchdogs in society to acknowledge that the people have spoken and their determination is that the number of presidential candidates in the race could not give any candidate an outright win for the presidency, except a run-off which is now seen irreversible.
ALREADY, JUDGING BY the results released, it is clearly shown that the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) will go for a run-off once the National Elections Commission announces the final results and no party gets the 50 plus one percent votes of the overall votes counted across the country.
INDEED, WE POISE to witness the process as we have done throughout the months, weeks and days ago, hoping that the voices of the people will be heard and respected.
FINALLY, LET THE will of the people prevail, by allowing whosoever that is truly elected through the ballot box is given the chance to lead Liberia in fulfilling a smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another.