The Press Union of Liberia is closely following the reported attack on the premises of Radio Gbezohn in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County by men said to be related to Grand Bassa Rep Gabriel Smith, and absolutely rejects any attacks on any journalist or media institution as unjustifiable.
The PUL sees Radio Gbezohn and all media institutions as important partners to the promotion of development and democracy in Liberia, and do not think kindly of any situation that will disrupt this process.
The PUL however notes that while at times media content may be unfortunate or offensive, it still does not warrant any unlawful or violent response.
At the same time the PUL anticipates that journalists and media institutions have a professional obligation to remain independent and impartial at all times, and especially during this electoral period.
The independent media has a professional obligation to abide by basic ethical principles, work in the interest of the public and to make these facilities available to everyone, except where they are inciting violence, ethnicity or similar divisive tenets.
Ahead of the current situation, the Press Union of Liberia has been aware of a long running saga between the management of Radio Gbezohn and Rep Smith, and has previously initiated dialogues aimed at ensuring the long term operations and sustainability of the station as a community facility, as well as to respect the rights and obligations of all citizens and residents of the Grand Bassa community. We remain committed to this.
However, considering the gravity of the allegations and the related issues, the leadership of the PUL is enforcing a professional review of the matter, and has already held conversations with the contesting parties and various stakeholders in the county, including the police, towards promoting an early and impartial investigation that will assure all concerned of safety and justice.
As always, the Press Union of Liberia is standing to ensure freedom within the media space and professionalism in media practice.