New Castle, Delaware-:A fund drive intended to seek monetary and technical support for the development of the local Liberian media has been launched in the United States of America (USA). The rally was initiated by the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) on Saturday, October 6, 2018, at its Annual National Benefit Banquet held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The rally formed part of activities organized for the Association’s just ended fourth post crisis annual national convention held from October 4-7, 2018, in Minneapolis. It brought together more than 75 eminent Liberian journalists from the diaspora and Liberia.
ALJA is a group of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. The Association is a registered 501c (3) non-profit organization in the US. It was founded in 1998 by a group of Liberian journalists in Washington, D.C. with the foremost objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Also, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom and free speech in Liberia through media advocacy.
Additionally, the Association is dedicated to the advancement of the principles of good governance in the public sector via media advocacy. ALJA is 20 years old now since its formation. In 2004, the Organization took a nosedive as a result of internal strife amongst members. After ten years of inactivity, ALJA bounced back after its revival in 2014 by a group of concerned members. Since then, the Association remains a critical voice for the advancement of press freedom, free speech and the principles of good governance in Liberia.
Delivering an overview statement on the importance of the fund drive, ALJA’s National President, Moses Sandy, underscored the Liberian media’s pivotal role in sustaining the prevailing peace, stability and democracy in Liberia.
According to an ALJA press released on October 15, 2018, President Sandy said in recent years, Liberia has witnessed a boom in the establishment of print and broadcast media institutions. “Liberia has several schools of journalism; and more than 100 radio stations and 40 newspapers.” Irrespective of the growth, The ALJA National President observed, the efficacy of the Liberian media continues to be saddled by monetary, logistical, and manpower development challenges.
He noted “Liberia has a small media market for sales and advertisement as a result, media institutions are underfunded, while journalists are paid non-livable wages.” Mr. Sandy said to reverse the current situation, media institutions with similar editorial philosophies must merge. He said the ALJA media development campaign is intended to mobilize international support for the viability of the Liberian media in terms of capacity building. “ALJA would seek for scholarships, training, equipment and other meaningful opportunities for journalists and media institutions in Liberia”, he said. He appealed to Liberians and friends of the Liberian media to lending monetary and logistical support to the fund drive.
Liberia’s Consul General to the State of Minnesota, Jackson George, and former Bomi County Senator, Mohamed Dukuly, served as chief and co-launchers of the fund drive. Both men highlighted the importance of the initiative and the indispensable role the Liberian media continues to play in maintaining the nation’s democracy. They collectively hailed the Liberian media for the heroic role it is playing in bridging the communication gap between the government and the governed in Liberia.
They lauded ALJA for launching the fund drive and called on Liberians and supporters of the media to contribute to the initiative. The fund drive generated several hundred US dollars. Liberia’s Minister of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Lenn Eugene Nagbe, and the Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress, Alexander Cummings, were among several eminent Liberians and journalists that graced the occasion. Both men generously made monetary contribution to the fund drive.