“SOLIDARITY IN THESE TIMES” – PUL Summons Members; Suspends Eugene Nagbe

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In the wake of reported profanity used against the Press Union of Liberia by Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe that the PUL is a useless organization, the union of Liberia has summoned all its members and auxiliary groups to a mass meeting on Friday while suspending the membership of the Minister Nagbe with immediate effect.

In an email message circulated amongst journalists, the PUL leadership has invite members to a mass meeting of journalists and media owners on Friday, 28 December 2018 at 11am at the Union’s Headquarters on 44 Clay Street in Monrovia., saying that the Friday meeting seeks to discuss the increasing hostilities against the Media in Liberia in the first year of the Weah Administration.

The Press Union of Liberia said it anticipates the presence of all media practitioners at the meeting. “Solidarity in these times is essential for the protection and safety of all journalists in the country,” the invitation indicated.

At the same time the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia, PUL has with immediate effect suspended the membership of Liberia’s Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe with the organization for rowdy behavior.

The decision to suspend the Minister comes after the Minister Nagbe described the PUL as a useless entity during a talk show appearance on Christmas Day on Fabric 101.1 FM in Monrovia. “The Minister who worked as a journalist up to the infamous Taylor Era, had appeared to discuss the current case of the government’s handling of the media along with Journalists Rodney Sieh and Frank Sainworla,” the PUL release has said.

The PUL notes that Ministers of Information are often given honorary membership of the Union because of their role in the sector, but added that Nagbe’s situation is especially appalling because of his background in journalism.

“Professionals in journalism in Liberia or affiliating with the PUL are held to every word and intent of the Code of Conduct for journalists in the country.  The Press Union insists that the deportment of the Minister of Information, who is regarded as one of the ambassadors of Liberian Journalism in government was emphatically unruly and disturbing,” the release indicated.

The Union reminded Minister Nagbe of the preamble of the PUL’s Code of Conduct in which calls on journalists to uphold the highest measure of ethical standard, professional competence and good behavior in the performance of their duties.

“Section 5.2: The journalist should, while in the performance of his/her duty, conduct and present his/herself in a properly and orderly manner, refrain from the use of profane language,” the release further indicated,

The Union said Minister Nagbe’s unprecedented slam on the parent body for journalists, the Union asserts, speaks to the length people of his category can sometimes go to defend their paycheck, accentuating that no matter how difficult the search for affluence, professionals must not allow their intelligence to be corroded but must at all times strive to uphold the sanctity of one of few institutions Liberia has to preserved not even when ideas are in short supply to express our situational disagreements, the Union stressed.

Said Press Union of Liberia President, Charles B. Coffey, Jr.: “Minister Nagbe’s frustration is reflective of the Weah Administration’s annoyance on the exactitude in the coverage of proceedings of the government in its first year”.   The Media in Liberia, Coffey said, is not providing tough scrutiny. Rather it is cataloging government’s pronouncements coupled with few sporadic investigations.

The Union recalled that Minister Nagbe is credited for insulting Liberian television news anchor, Estella Liberty Karmo now a Deputy Director-General for Administration at the State-owned broadcaster, ELBC on camera during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s final State of the Nation Address in 2017.

In the interim, the Press Union of Liberia has mandated the revision of Minister Nagbe’s membership with the Union by its committee on membership; the National Media Council has also been asked to investigate the poor deportment of Minister Nagbe as a member of the PUL. The outcome of the review will inform an even more appropriate reprimand for the minister.

Over the past week, influencers within the power cycle of President George M. Weah have intensified their attacks on the media in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia is again calling on President Weah to advise his assistants to end their provocative comments and actions against the media because these negative energies undercut the country’s democratic gains.

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