The Liberian media has been urged to prioritise ethical journalism which, according to the leader of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), Dr Daniel E. Cassell, begins with truth-telling.
Dr Cassell also told members of the Liberian media that despite the risks involved and circumstances, they should rise up against wicked and corrupt leaders in the Liberian society and desist from compromising truth-telling and burying societal ills to satisfy their personal aggrandizement.
He made the remarks while delivering the keynote address at the 7th National Convention of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) in New Jersey, USA.
Dr Cassell noted that “unethical and compromised journalism” remained on the rise in post-conflict Liberia. The situation persisted because some of those in the profession preferred “gold over good”, he charged.
He remarked that prior to taking journalism as their profession, Liberian journalists were and remained citizens of the country, as such, they should not relent on exposing societal ills and standing tall against wicked leaders.
“By the same token, I like to remind journalists that before becoming journalists, you were first citizens of Liberia and shall remain citizens of Liberia suffice to say each of you has a patriotic duty to protect your country, stand against its mismanagement and abuse by nefarious leaders, for you are direct victims of bad governance,” he added.
“Journalists must at all times report the truth and expose the vices and excesses in society. While no story is worth the life of a journalist, a journalist must defy all odds to gather and report the facts plain and square. Journalists must be patriotic, uncompromising, and daring in their reportorial duties with the singular goal of protecting the interest of the state and its people”.
Dr Cassell proposed that editorials, op-eds, commentaries, special features, and lead stories must focus on governance and society and talk about the danger of corruption, bad governance, lawlessness, poor quality education, bad healthcare system, the utter disobedience to the separation of constitutional powers, impoverishment of the people, the rising insecurity obtaining in the state, impunity, the ineffectual nature of the legislature, the corruption in the judiciary amongst other abnormalities obtaining in Liberia.
He maintained that Journalists should write and speak about these issues with conviction, passion, and vehemence, because “if these conflict- trigger incongruities are not dealt with adequately, they can potentially lay the basis for conflict and war”.
“Lest we forget, these were the very vices and egregious tendencies that plunged Liberia into a fifteen-year senseless bloodbath that crudely claimed the precious lives of hundreds of thousands of compatriots. These vices are once again masquerade our nation and the Liberian people are witnessing another epoch of debauchery under the rulership of President George Weah.” Read the full article here.