By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
MONROVIA – Ahead of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) presidential and general elections, the two candidates vying for the leadership of the Union were on Monday, October 31, 2022 engaged in a heated debate organized by the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiative held on the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia with the view of wooing voters, especially those who have not taken side in what is being seen as a tight race in recent time.
The Press Union of Liberia elections is scheduled to take place on November 12, 2022 in Gbarnga, Bong County where journalists will elect a new leadership that will steer the affairs of the Union for the next three years.
At the debate, each bloc was represented by three candidates, to include presidential, vice president and secretary general and five minutes were allotted to each to make an introductory deliberation statement.
In his introductory statement, Mr. Julius K. Kanubah, a presidential aspirant, said he is vying for the Press Union highest office with focus on six pillars. He named accountable leadership, impartial leadership, construction of the PUL headquarters, support for women in journalism and media communication, media development, and the formation of media hubs across the country as sub chapters of the Union.
Kanubah noted that on each of these critical agenda items, his team has a 31- point action plan. He mentioned that under media development, the PUL will have to engage in institutional capacity building and fellowship opportunities for journalists across the country.
“Under development, we will work to defend journalists across the country. We are also working to initiate and reactivate the collective bargaining agreement and the welfare policy of the PUL”, he said during the debate.
He continued that his team is also talking about health insurance for journalists in Liberia, saying “for us we want to implement the Constitution of the PUL”. He added that under his administration financial reports will be presented to members of the PUL.
Mr. Kanubah went further by saying they intend to fully decentralize the PUL that is why they have a specific agenda targeting journalists in the counties, adding that they need to ensure that there is a proper record system within the Union.
Speaking further, he disclosed that they will work with the government of Liberia to implement the Pro poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and said he is not anti government. “I am a supporter of the government and we need to set an agenda that we will work with.”
In concluding, he said they need to proceed with the independent broadcast regulatory commission. Also, he mentioned about self regulations, something he said will be looked at.
For his part, incumbent Vice President Daniel Nyankonah while making his introductory statement said he is vying for the PUL presidency because he wants to continue to work to increase advocacy for the protection of journalists across Liberia.
Besides, he said they want to sit around the table to discuss with media managers on the way forward to enhance the wages of journalists.
Speaking on the construction of the PUL Headquarters, he said they will divide the country into five regions and have a concerted meeting with stakeholders, to include, business owners, private citizens, and government where money will be placed into private account for the contribution of the Union’s headquarters.