As the media umbrella organization, the Press Union of Liberia, celebrated its 56th year of existence, a call was sent for journalists to eschew joining the uninformed and uneducated sympathizers in marketing and promoting warlords and economic criminals who, despite looting the country’s finances and spinning lies and feeding the public with alternative truth, continue to be rewarded with some of the highest offices in the land despite the atrocities committed against other Liberians.
Delivering a highly charged keynote address over the weekend in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County, Dr. Daniel Cassell, who served as the PUL keynote speaker urged Liberian journalists across the length and breadth of the country to exercise deep self-reflection, deep self-evaluation, deep commitment on the diversity of topics, subjects or actors in the stories and sources, objective and quality aspects of reporting, and the comprehensiveness of information as they go about their reportorial duties.
Dr. Cassell recalled that the era of past national leaders including Presidents Tubman, Tolbert Doe, Taylor and Sirleaf were marked by some form of excesses against the Liberian media, noting that with all of the adversities, the media have withstood the test of time.
“Let not the sacrifices and lives that were lost by those who came before you go to waste. Be the change they laid down their lives for. Do not join hands in promoting political actors/actresses who, despite their lack of qualification and competence have been rewarded with executive, legislative and other top level governmental positions. Do not allow your platform to be used by political actors/actresses who take advantage of the poverty and suffering of the citizens to only provide handouts-money and bags of rice during election time and never care about addressing the real issues that their constituents face,” Dr. Cassell urged the Liberian media.
He therefore called on the media to use their various platforms to advocate and be that voice for the voiceless, oppressed, and abused brothers-sisters-mothers-fathers-sons and daughters who have been ostracized and called derogatory names such as ‘zogos’ by no fault of their own but rather a direct result of the reactionary formation of Liberia’s past civil wars, broken economy, and failed governance.
“I urge you to renew the public’s faith and hope in the media through your unified voices and platforms. Ladies and gentlemen, as we conclude today’s event marking your 56th anniversary in response to the sound of your trumpet call to duty, I urge you to be that change. As I have embarked on the journey to be that change in coming back home to rebuild our mother’s land through my humanitarian foundation, it is my hope that you’ll also be that change in performing your media duties. You can be that change that you want to see by taking one step at a time,” the keynote speaker enjoined.
He said Liberian journalists can be that change that they want to see in society by using the information power to educate the public on good governance, waste and abuse of the country’s resources, among others
“You can be that change by calling out public officials and administrations and political actors and actresses who spin lies and deceptions after failing to deliver any single substantial development project, engage in systemic violence against innocent civilians, men, women and children, inability to address the basic public health needs of the citizens.
“You can be that change by having a unified voice denouncing human rights violation against innocent citizens; you can be that change through your objective, diverse and investigative reporting of events in our society; you can be that change by being patriotic Liberian in putting issues or matters of our country above special interest groups and political affiliations,” Dr. Cassell stated.
He cautioned for Liberian journalists to be change that they want to see in the society requires being godly and patriotic.
“What this means is putting country first over political affiliation, lending your voices and platforms to advocate for the poor, disenfranchised and marginalized members of our society, lending your voices and platforms to call out the political actors/actresses who are being hailed and rewarded for economic theft, using your voices and platforms to educate the citizens on the characteristics and competencies needed is a person who is to lead our nation and shouldn’t be based on popularity and public sentiments because absolutely nothing can be expected from that criteria,” he noted.
Dr. Cassell further noted that for journalists to be that means putting country first despite one’s affiliations and patronage of the ruling political party and the opposition parties.
“What this simply means is poor and selfish or self-gratifying decisions made by political actors in authority that have immediate and long-term negative impacts on the economic, educational, and health institutions of our nation, and consequently ruin the lives of the current and future generations should be met with a unified force of the press. This may require holding emergency executive meetings to strategize and swiftly respond with one unified voice across the mass media at home and in the diaspora,” he said.
On behalf of the Dr. Cassell Foundation, its board members and staff, the keynote speaker presented a check in the amount of US$10,000.00 towards the support of the Union’s work in ensuring free speech and freedom of the press.
After escaping the ravages of the Liberian civil conflict in 1990, Dr. Cassell spent 25 unbroken years in the Diaspora going to school, working relentlessly, and establishing two healthcare organizations that operate six licensed and Joint Commission Accredited (JCOH) intensive/outpatient mental health and addictions clinics without a legal immigration status. The PUL 56th Anniversary keynote speaker has a wonderful and supportive God-fearing wife and six fantastic kids, and a very successful business and professional career.
“With all of these accomplishments and successes, why did I come back to Liberia? The answer is plain and simple. I came back because I knew that something needed to change within our Liberian society and the only way that was going to happen was if I came back home and demonstrated to my fellow Liberians that I was willing to begin that change with me. I had to be the change, and I am here today to challenge you to be that change as well,” Dr. Cassell said philosophically.
The Analyst News 2046 posts 0 comments