The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) says the selection of a new, impartial board of the Rivercess Broadcasting Service is a step towards ensuring that the station strengthens its contribution to developments in the county.
PUL President Abdullai Kamara made the remarks on Saturday when Rivercess County stakeholders unveiled a new board for the station. The board subsequently elected three of its members as officers. Kamara said community media can be an effective part of the development process, once it is organized in a manner and form that allows all to participate without discrimination. The board selection process is a requirement in the resolution of a long-running conflict among stakeholders at the station. The next steps include the board leadership in the revision of the station’s by-laws. At a July 9 conflict resolution session in Cestos, a Press Union delegation identified several planks in putting the station back on course. These included replacing the then interim Station Manager, development of a business and finance management function; the selection of an Interim Station Manager; and the determination of an interim board with authority to conduct elections for the new board within thirty (30) days. Other decisions reached were an agreement for all aggrieved staff to return to work; a review of the by-laws of the station to provide for board supervision of the management. The meeting also recommended setting guidelines to address the neutrality of broadcasters at the station, define the community ownership of the station, and ensuring that politicians are not be allowed to influence appointments at the station. Saturday's meeting however brought about 16 new members of the board, who elected a Chairman, Co-chair and a chaplain. Members of the board and other stakeholders then sought the concern of the Press Union and Association of Community Radio (ALICOR) to provide guidance for the Board. Also at the event, the County Inspector, representing the County Administration, welcomed the efforts by stakeholders to make their station more functional. According to the County Inspector, "in as much as Rivercess people are ready for business, local government stands by you." Those elected at the session were Lorenzo Zaweque - Chairperson, Rachel Zeo - Co Chairperson and King Cephas Nah- Chaplain. In other remarks, the President of the Association of Community Radio (ALICOR), William Quire challenged the Board to play a more active role in ensuring that the community plays a larger role in the affairs of the station. He noted that the station can only be a truly community radio when all associated with it have a role in its operations. He further urged the management to remain impartial in their operations, to gain the confidence of the community. The activities were facilitated by the Press Union of Liberia and the Association of Community Radio (ALICOR) in partnership with the Liberia Media Development operated by INTERNEWS on behalf of USAID.