A media advocacy group, Media Alliance for Democratic Governance (MADE), is urging the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) not to give credence to demand by the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJaL) to reconstitute the National Media Council (NML) to include their representative.
The National Coordinator of MADE, Joseph F. Charlie, described FeJAL’s demand as not only selfish and unattainable but a calculated ploy to introduce divisiveness in the PUL under the pretence of advocacy for female journalists’ inclusion on the Council. Charlie stressed that FeJAL President Siatta Scott-Johnson’s demand pronounced during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2017 was totally misguided and intended to bring in question the PUL credibility and further impugn on the professionalism and rational decision making ability of prominent Liberians serving on the Council. The Media Advocacy group indicated that Mrs. Scott-Johnson statement was a complete irony because besides fully participating in the induction of the Council a fortnight ago in Monrovia where she was recognized to make remarks, the Revised Code and the Media Council were adopted at the 3rd Tri-Annual Congress of the Press Union in Ganta, Nimba County on November 18, 2016, an event FeJAL participated in. Charlie, who is admonishing FeJAL to abandon its unrealistic demand, said giving in to such request will set a bad precedent as other auxiliaries of the PUL including the Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL), the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL), the Editors and Media Managers Association, the Association of Liberia Community Radio could also demand to be represented on the Council. MADE believes that the FeJAL boss statement was targeted at creating public sentiments to reflect gender/women exclusion, something the organization notes cannot be the case as two prominent Liberian women including gender advocate and former lawmaker Mrs. Ruth Caesar are part of the nine-member Council. The Media Council which consists of nine members, each nominated from the constituent bodies: Media – 3, Religious Groups – 2, Legislature -1, Civil society -1, Academia -1, and Women Groups -1, is charged with the responsibility of investigating all matters arising from the violation of the Code, either upon a complaint or observation, and adopting the most adequate measures and remedies; guided however by the principles of freedom of expression and information.