By Melissa Chea-Annan
The oldest post-war independent Newspaper in Liberia, The INQUIRER turns 23 today. In commemoration of the Institution’s 23rd Anniversary, the staff will assemble at the Revelation Seventh Day Adventist Church in Gardnersville, outside Monrovia this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. for a Thanksgiving Worship Service.
The Managing Editor of The INQUIRER, Philip N. Wesseh, on Tuesday attributed the existence and survival of the paper to the commitment, sacrifices and hard work of the staff. He commended the employees for their dedication and for exhibiting high level of professionalism in the execution of their duties.
“I am not saying that we are perfect but over the years we have done our best to be accurate and factual, and whenever we noticed any ethical transgression in the publication, we immediately made corrections,” Mr. Wesseh stated.
The INQUIRER Boss boasted that the survival of the institution has disproved the perception that Liberian businesses can’t last. He called on the public to see the institution as an example that a Liberian business does last if the owner is focused and determined.
Mr. Wesseh pointed out that the secret for success to any Liberian business is to first build the institution and the capacity of the employees. “If you put yourself first, you will not succeed. By building the institution and capacity of the employees, you can sustain the business.”
He expressed regrets that most Liberians put themselves first by changing their lifestyle, riding fancy cars, and forgetting about the business, something that most often breaks down the business.
Commenting on challenges, Mr. Wesseh reiterated that the circulation of the papers remains a major challenge due to the deplorable road conditions. He stressed the need for the Liberian Government to address the situation since it is hampering the circulation of the papers throughout the country.
Mr. Wesseh expressed hope that a printing press would be made available to the institution shortly since it is also a major challenge which prevents the papers from appearing on the newsstand on time.
The 30-year-old media practitioner observed that the media in Liberia still has ethical problems, to the extent that some journalists most often failed to make corrections whenever they erred. “There is nothing wrong with making corrections whenever we err. We are not perfect. If we admit that we erred, it adds to our credibility and we earn more respect,” Mr. Wesseh pointed out.
The INQUIRER Boss cautioned Liberian journalists to exhibit high level of professionalism and assured them that though the media has advanced based on modern technology, there is still room for improvement.
The INQUIRER is the oldest post-war independent newspaper that was established on January 15, 1991 by six young Liberians including Slenwion Togba, Grody Dorbor, Gabriel Williams, and Roger Seton, based in the United States of America, Philip N. Wesseh and the late T-Max Teah. The founders of the Institutions who were once in the employ of the Daily Observer Newspaper established The INQUIRER to fill in the gap of communication which was disrupted as a result of the Liberian civil crisis. The Daily Observer Newspaper at the time was shut down due to the civil crisis.
The six young men saw the need to give Liberians and others who fully relied on the BBC news, firsthand information in relations to the crisis and progress that was made by the international community in ending the crisis and bringing peace in the country.
Since 1991, the paper has continued to survive in spite of the difficult circumstances it encountered during the civil crisis in October 1992, April 1996, September 1998, and the 2003 saga that is being referred to as “World War I, II, and III”. The institution suffered a major setback during the April 6, 1996 war as its offices on Carey Street at the time were set ablaze.