PUL Ethics Committee Cautions Journalists, Media Houses

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Grievance and Ethics Committee is calling the attention of some media houses to their constant failure to properly give attribution to stories, including those lifted from fellow media institutions.

A statement signed by the Committee’s Chairman, Frank Sainworla, Jr. says such practice of not giving credits to sources where stories are lifted is grossly unprofessional and it amounts to plagiarism, an intellectual crime.

The statement says this alert serves as a warning to all those involved to desist, as their failure will lead the Ethics Committee with no other alternative but to begin publically naming and shaming those involved in line with enforcement of the PUL’s code of conduct and ethics.

Article 3 of the code which demands crediting of sources states that: “The Journalist should refrain from plagiarism, defamation, obscenity, slander and unfounded accusations. Where there is need to use other’s material, it is proper to credit the source.”

The Committee observed that this warning is prompted by what now appears to be a pattern by some media outlets (both private and public) to lift stories from others without giving the appropriate credits.

The Chairman of the Ethics Committee said it has particularly become more rampant with stories lifted from the Liberia News Agency (LINA), noting that just on one day in last week, two radio stations lifted up to six LINA stories in their bulletin word-for-word without giving the needed credits.

“This is professionally wrong and must be discontinued, because crediting the source of given information takes nothing away from a media house, but it in fact enhances professional credibility,” the Committee’s statement cautioned.

Meanwhile, the PUL’s Ethics Committee is again reminding all Journalists and media outlets of their professional responsibilities to ensure that their stories are at all times balance, fair and accurate with the truth being their guide.