CLLR. TIAWON GONGLOE has challenged journalists in the country that If deliberate effort is not made by journalists, editors, publishers and the Press Union of Liberia, to curtail the frequency of giving information to the public that is not true, then the journalism profession risks being considered harmful than good for the Liberian people.
SPEAKING LAST FRIDAY at the annual awards of the Press Union of Liberia, Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that given the growing number of media institutions in Liberia and the competition for being the first to inform the public about events, the potential for the truth to be sacrificed in such competitive atmosphere is very high.
ON THE TOPIC, “THE ROLE OF THE PRESS IN PROMOTING AND PROTECTING PRESS FREEDOM IN LIBERIA”, the human rights lawyer said if care is not taken to prevent the people from reaching such a conclusion, then instead of the people calling for greater freedom of the press, they will begin to call for scrutiny by the government, which will definitely provide an excuse by government for censorship and muzzling of the press.
ONE OF THE key responsibilities of the members of any professional body is to promote their profession by showing how relevant it is in the lives of the people and that this can be done by the quality of service members of the profession give and the benefit that is derived by the people.
HOWEVER, HE OBSERVED that in the case of the journalism profession in Liberia, the Liberian people are beginning to complain about how the profession is practiced by some journalists. One complaint is that some journalists rush to report stories without taking time to check the facts, as some journalists rush to publish or broadcast stories. He said others frowned on journalists allowing themselves to be used by politicians and competitors and that some of them, were not doing proper research.
THE ISSUES RAISED by this learned came days after the Liberian media came to the spotlight of how some of the things being reported are not true. In recent time also, the union has taken serious action against some of its members and institutions for unethical behavior.
WHILE THANKING THE PUL for stance it has taken for ethical reasons, it is time for media institutions to conduct self-assessment on some of the issues raised by the speaker, who has been in the fight for press freedom to command the respect of the public, especially as they relate to accuracy and the truth, which are crucial to the journalism profession.
ACTUALLY, THERE IS nothing wrong by being the first to publish, but what matters in making sure that the facts are properly gathered and reported objectively to the public.
LET US TAKE the issues raised by the counselor seriously to continue to command the respect of the public. The challenge now is ours to avoid half-truths, inaccuracy and ethical transgression.