-As Gov’t Promises To Settle Media Debts
The induction ceremony of the Press Union of Liberia came alive when the Liberian Government promised to settle all financial obligations it owes the Liberian Media.
The pronouncement was made by Samuel Tweah, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister when he served as guest speaker at the Induction of officials of the Press Union of Liberia held at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Tweah informed the gathering that they as a government have decided to settle all their obligations by paying those media institutions before the New Year.
Although, this is not the first time for such a promise to be made, but this recent one was made at a media gathering where past and current Press Union of Liberia’s (PUL) leaders were in attendance.
One of those who attended the induction ceremony was Alphonso Zeon who in his statement pleaded with the Liberian Government to make good her words.
“This should not be another pronouncement and it does not work” the trained Liberian journalist said.
Also speaking, the Secretary General-elect of the Reporters Association of Liberia who proxy for both the outgoing and income leadership praised the government for deciding to settle their obligations.
He said, “I am not here to talk long, but to speak to two issues quickly. The PUL president spoke of collective bargaining and the Finance Minister also talked about paying media debts. Thanks for the pronouncement that you are paying media owners so they can pay us, the reporters and the collective bargaining the PUL president spoke of needs to be implemented for our lives to be better”.
At the same time, a representative of the publishers Association of Liberia, Mr. Alphonso Toweh who said the action of government to not pay media institutions’ debts is a total strangulation, something according to him, is causing impediment to in their businesses.
He, like other speakers welcomed the Liberian Government’s pronouncement and prayed that payment be made so as to ease some of the tensions they as media owners are faced with.
Unlike previous induction ceremonies of the Press Union, the just-ended induction was different as majority members of the institution boycotted.
It can be recalled that the just-ended election which brought Mr. Charles Coffey to power as president of the Union was allegedly marked by fraud in favor of Mr. Coffey something which caused one group of the institution to have boycotted the election process and ran to court for redress.
As it is now, the media in Liberia are divided with one group taking side with former Vice President Octavian T. Williams and the others with Mr. Charles B. Coffey Jr.
Again, speaking at the induction ceremony, former Press Union of Liberia president, Peter Quaqua highlighted the needs for the newly inducted leaders headed by Coffey to endeavor as much as possible to reconcile the two groups.
In the absence of total reconciliation, he said the union work will be distorted.
He also recommended a mini convention of the media wherein they will have modification of their constitution which will disallow Public Relation Officers (PROs) for voting in the PUL’s elections.
As he spoke, about the issue relating to PRO’s, there were murmuring in the halfway empty theater of the Ministerial Complex with many of the PROs giving their disapproval to such proposal. TNR