Members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) joyously celebrated the 56th anniversary of their organization in Bomi County, western Liberia with a call by the President of the Union, Charlie Coffey urging the Liberian government to prevail on its state security actors to immediately halt the harassment of journalists who are performing their professional duties.
Addressing members of the Union, Mr. Coffey cataloged numerous incidents of the harassment of journalists who he said are doing their job professionally, but also warned his fellow media colleagues to uphold the ethic of professionalism in their discharge of their assigned duties.
The celebrations culminate today with the grand parade through the principal streets of Tubmanburg to give visibility to the Press Union of Liberia and allow community members to see some of the nation’s top journalists.
The three days event, from September 28 to the 30th brought together journalists from all over the country to celebrate their organization’s 56th anniversary, which was established on September 30, 1964.
The Press Union of Liberia is the umbrella organization serving Liberian media professionals and institutions. With a membership base of more than 500 journalists, the PUL has oversight responsibility for addressing problems arising from journalists’ reportage and conduct in the face of the ever growing demand for quality and good taste.
Basically, the Union was set up to advocate for press freedom and the protection of journalists. But since its founding, the Union has grown to a vibrant pro-democracy group that has championed not only media matters, but issues affecting the democratic governance of the state, social justice and human rights.
During the protected Liberian crisis and the preceding years, when almost every strata of the Liberian society was polarized on factional and political lines, the Press Union stood as a defiant non-partisan institution that challenge the regimes in spite of the associated risk.
Before the sixties, the Liberian press only concerned itself with government handout, or releases from embassies along with news from business houses and schools.
With the establishment of the Union, Liberian the media have experienced some transformation, but much is desired in the face of the harsh political environment. Amidst the unfriendly space, the Union has also developed and has since been working to seek opportunities for the Liberian media as well as defend press freedom. The PUL provides small support to journalists who in distress if and when it has available resources.
The Union currently operates through a five elected officials – comprising: President, Vice President, Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General and Financial Secretary. Seven standing committees are appointed by the elected leadership to form the Executive Committee that serves as supporting arm of the leadership in moving the Union forward. The EC is the highest decision making body of the Union next to the general membership (congress).
PUL actively collaborates, partners and networks with several local and international organizations including International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), The West African Journalists Association (WAJA), The Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ), the UK-based International Alert, among others.