By Abel R. Okai, GNN-Liberia, Bong County Correspondent
Liberian Journalists in the Country has democratically elected into office new leadership for the next three years.
Director of television at the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), overwhelmingly defeated the administration of Kamara Abdullai Kamara at the PUL’s third compulsory congress held in Ganta, Nimba County on November 19, 2016.
The theme for this year’s congress is “Media Integrity for Peaceful 2017”.
Mr. Charles Coffey, in his elective speech spoke of cordial relationship with all journalists insuring decentralization being a major tool to taking the PUL to a major level. “Freedom of the Press needs to be active with the formation of Economic strength, involvement of journalists in decision making, living conditions of journalists expressing the least salaries they earned; contributed depressing activities by past leadership will be handled towards reporters of the Union”, Coffey added.
The New PUL Boss called for tolerance among his colleagues and assured members of the Union that will be done to actively curtail negative barriers that has been practiced.
Mr. Coffey defeated the incumbent Abdullai Kamara, 152 to 100 votes, while his vice presidential candidate, Octavin Williams overwhelmed Jallah Grayfield by 109 to 90 votes, leaving Omicee Johnson, who also contested for the vice presidential post, with 46 votes.
Daniel Nyankonah was elected unconstrained as secretary general of the union, while Dyrus Zinnah, ELBC reporter, defeated former Daily Observer and Frontpage Africa reporter and Sime Darby’s Communication Specialist David Kolleh and the News Director of Prime FM, Jutonu Kollie, with 105, 75 and 72 votes respectively.
The Annual Congress brought together 254 registered voters, a low turnout of the membership of 459 journalists.
Mr. Aaron Kollie, Manager of Power F. M., supervised the recent PUL Congress as Election Commissioner along with other members of the PUL included Tetee Kanneh, James Dorbor Sao, Anthony Selma and Siata Johnson with at the same time Jarlawah Tonpoe and Hassan Kiawu contributed technical assistance to the Commission.
In a related development, as part of the activities of the Congress, journalists overwhelmingly endorsed the new Code of Ethics for Liberian Journalists including the Operational Strategy.
The 14-Article Code of Ethics is aimed at encouraging journalists to uphold the highest measure of ethical standards, professional competence and good behavior in the performance of their duties.
It also sets minimum benchmarks for ethical standards and protecting the rights of the journalist and the public.
The Operation Strategy regulates and manages the Code of Conduct, which includes the National Media Council (NMC) that would be established, thereby repealing the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the PUL.
The responsibility of the NMC is to guarantee compliance with the Code of Ethics through contents in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and on the internet; respect of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information; and to only adapt those measures that are proportionate and necessary to redress violations of the Code.
The composition of the NMC includes three representatives from the media, one from the Legislature, one from civil society, two from religious groups and one each from academia and women’s groups.
Members of the NMC hold office for a two-year term.