By Abel R. Okai, GNN-Liberia, Bong County Correspondentfirstname.lastname@example.org/ +231-886-576-379/+231-770-019-857
Gbarnga, Bong County – Two day working session organized for Media practitioners by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on decentralization practice has been officially concluded in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration Varney Sirleaf has described the media as a partner in ensuring increased knowledge and dissemination of relevant information on Liberia’s Decentralization Platform and as such cannot be rooted out of such process.
Addressing media practitioners Wednesday at the opening of a two-day working sessions on the Liberia Decentralization Support Program in Gbarnga, Bong County, Sirleaf said the process was a strategy positioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs seeing media, most especially community radios’ as a partner in informing its citizens.
He believed the working sessions with media stakeholders would enable them form part of government reform process.
According to the Deputy Minister, there is a need to establish a cardinal relationship with major media institutions like the Press Union of Liberia, Reporters Association and community radios aimed at implementing the decentralization strategy already being put in place by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Sirleaf further stressed the need for the media to have sound understanding of the content and benefits surrounding the decentralization process in an effort to ensure an onward understanding and ownership to the larger Liberian populace.
Sirleaf said, in order to cohesively work with the media, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Information, Association of Community Radios and the Press Union of Liberia in order for us to ensure a better understanding and ownership of the process.
According to Mr. Sirleaf, objective of the program had been outlined in a work plan to ensure that the media understands workings of the Liberia Decentralization Support Program, something he termed a plus.
He encouraged journalists to do fact findings on the decentralization process implementation by visiting service centers in various counties in Liberia to unveil challenges as well as gains.
The Deputy Internal Affairs Minister then lauded media institutions for their support over the time in disseminating information on the decentralization process.
For his part, Press Union of Liberia President Abdullah Kamara hinted, that development could not be achieved unless it took into account the full partaking of citizens which the decentralization program must not overlooked.
Kamara maintained, Participation in development issues begins with information sharing and the media is surely concern with such arts especially where the need for wide coverage is identified.
The PUL President expressed frustration over difficulties faced by many rural inhabitants in accessing basic services but stated that the decentralization program hopes to address.
“Over the last five years, we find out that people find it difficult to access a lot of basic service but with the decentralization of basic services, our people will have an easy access to needed services”, Kamara clarified.
He however, pledged the PUL support to the process which will accordingly decentralize the mandate of the media body to rural Liberia.
The forum brought together several Journalists from various parts of Liberia