“Gov’t has no Intention to Stifle Media”-MICAT Boss Rennie Assures, But Cautions

MONROVIA – In the wake of the Ministry of Information request to the Press Union of Liberia to the convening of a meeting to discuss issues around the Ministry terms as ethical transgressions on the part of Spoon FM Liberia, MICAT on Thursday held a frank but cordial discussion with the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia on the need for the enhancement of ethical standards in the media ahead of the October Presidential and Legislative elections.

Speaking at the meeting, Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie assured the PUL that the government has no intention of shutting down any media institution as speculated in some quarters. 

Minister Rennie wants the PUL to encourage a stronger editorial regime that will help hold journalists and media personalities to ethical standards. The information minister indicated that media institutions must strive to balance the discourses they moderate for the good of the public. He maintained that the media plays a pivotal role in the sustenance of peace but was quick to point out the unethical action of some media institutions which has the potential to undermine the peace and tranquility of the nation. 

The Minister expressed displeasure over the use of the media by some Liberians abroad to defame the character of others with absolutely no means of seeking redress as they live outside the legal confines of Liberia.  

Also speaking, the President of the PUL Charles B. Coffey, Jr. lauded the Government of Liberia for the meeting and stated that the Union was working to ensure the adherence to ethical standards across the media.

Mr. Coffey indicated that high ethical or professional standards will ensure a peaceful and stable environment. He said the Union will encourage media institutions and individual journalists to always remain ethical and professional, saying good journalism is the recipe for national harmony and development.

For her part, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Spoon Network, Tetee Karneh, promised to look into the matter. She did say ethical issues are not unique to one station and should receive a holistic gatekeeping approach for everyone.

Ms. Karneh disclosed that she is disappointed that only Spoon Network was singled out for the complaint when many other broadcasters were engaged in worse broadcasts. 

Thursday’s meeting was attended by Minister Legerhood Rennie, Deputy Minister for Public Affairs, Jarlawah A. Tonpo, Deputy Minister for Technical Services. Boakai M. Fofana, Deputy Minister for Administration Daniel C. Gayedyu, Assistant Minister for New Media and National Branding Grace Princess Tarwo, and the Assistant Minister for Information Services Daniel Nuxe Thomas. The PUL was represented by its leadership, including Charles B. Coffey, Jr. President Press Union of Liberia.

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