Liberian journalists, politicians are not enemies

From left, ALJA President Sandy, Chairman Lomax and Mr. Garyou

From left, ALJA President Sandy, Chairman Lomax and Mr. Garyou

The president of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), Moses D. Sandy says the Liberian media and political leaders are not foes but a group of people working in unison for a better Liberia.

Mr. Sandy said Liberian politicians have the foremost responsibility of creating and maintaining a stable and peaceful Liberia while journalists have the national duty of telling the stories as they are in their reportage about developments in the country.

“Politicians make public policies while the media serves as a conduit for the dissemination of information about those policies. The press is the bridge between the government and the governed,” he said.

He described as myth the belief in some quarters of the Liberian society that the media and the government or the nation’s political leaders are adversaries.

Speaking recently when the Interim Chairman of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Emmanuel Lomax and the National Chairman of the US-based Friends of Benoni Urey political group, Daniel Gayou paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in New Castle, Delaware, USA, the ALJA boss said the Liberian media and politicians have an inseparable relationship in sustaining the Liberian democracy. 

The visit was one of several political engagements Chairman Lomax had while in the US on an official ALP sponsored trip. Also, in attendance at the meeting was the ALJA Tri-State (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) Coordinator, Jackson Seton.

Mr. Sandy said Liberian journalists have the ethical and professional obligations of ensuring that the news is not colored, or distorted through fabrications and the misrepresentation of facts. “Be objective, honest, factual, and call a spade, a spade,” he emphasized.

The ALJA President said the doors of the association remain open to the ALP and all Liberians who are interested in working with the organization in enhancing professional journalism and good governance in Liberia, regardless of political dispensations.

He thanked Interim Chairman Lomax and Mr. Gayou for the visit. He noted, “we are grateful for the thought and reach-out. ALJA will collaborate with the ALP and any group of Liberians, who are committed to the betterment of the living conditions of our people. We will also, recognize and praise politicians when they do well for Liberia. However, we will not hesitate to condemn any individual, or group when they engage in acts that are inimical to the peaceful co-existence of our people.”

Responding Interim Chairman Lomax thanked Mr. Sandy and the ALJA leadership for their election and the reactivation of the association after ten years of dormancy. ALJA was founded in 1998 and it was revived in 2014 after years of dormancy. The organization crumbled in 2004 due to internal crisis amongst its members.

The association seeks to foster peace and unity amongst its members. ALJA is also, dedicated to the advancement of press freedom and the principle of good governance in Liberia.

“Mr. Sandy, congratulation on your achievement. We have been following the work of ALJA through news reports and the ALP is profoundly pleased with the progress you and your colleagues have made thus far,” Mr. Lomax said.

The ALP National Interim Chairman expressed the party’s interest in collaborating with ALJA and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in championing the cause of press freedom in Liberia through the legislation and enforcement of media friendly laws.

Mr. Lomax said the PUL, ALJA, and the ALP must form a pact in ensuring the adherence of public officials in Liberia to the tenets of the Table Mountain Declaration and the Freedom of Information Act. The Table Mountain Declaration is a global movement dedicated to replacing statutes under which journalists and media practitioners may be prosecuted as criminal defendants for criminal defamation.

 

Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas

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