The UNDP Resident Representative to Liberia, Mr. Stephen Rodriques, has called on media practitioners in the country to increase the reportage of development related issues to complement the efforts of development partners working for the Liberian people.
Mr. Rodriques made the call yesterday, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, when he hosted a maiden engagement with the media held at the One UN Building, Pan African Plaza Monrovia. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of UNDP’s work and priorities in Liberia, particularly following his recent field visit as well as engagement with state and non-state stakeholders and discuss the role of the media in Liberia’s development.
While lauding the media for its role in shaping discussions on national issues, he also reminded the participants of the long history of challenges the country has gone through and the need to come up with a new approach to overcome these challenges for the betterment of the people. He named some of the challenges as the protracted civil war, the ebola crisis and then the present covid 19 pandemic.
“The UNDP over the years has been a strategic partner to the government, working for the people. Right now is to find the right way to reconfigure programs or recalibrate to have maximum impact, how to help to facilitate and elevate discussion for national development. There should be conversation around this that will make us discuss the critical issues”, he said.
Mr. Rodriques said he has taken some trips to some counties and what he found out from his field trip was that the story was almost the same all over which borders on infrastructural deficit. He said the resources are located in Monrovia but the rural areas are left with almost nothing which explains why poverty is evasive there.
He said he could understand why most of the contents in the media space in the country are geared towards politics because there were the interest of those who read or listen to lie and there is where the media too generate revenue but there is an urgent need for the media to discuss development issues that center around job creations, health and sanitation, food security, environment, etc.
The top UN diplomat said that the UNDP has always stood by the media and will always do everything possible to help for the existence of a vibrant and sustainable media in the country.
“We are also having conversations about how to support the media. We are not just looking at the advocacy to support the media but also to find ways to support the viability of the media sector in Liberia”, he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Daniel Nyakonah, Vice President of the press Union of Liberia (PUL) thanked Mr. Rodriques for the engagement and said it will go a long way in strengthening the working relationship between the UNDP and the Liberian media.