LIBERIA: Press Union Receives Equipment, Stationery Donations.Trains 12 Medua Monitors

The Press Union of Liberia has received two separate donations of assorted office equipment and stationery from Internews and a former Liberian journalist residing in the United States.
The Internews donation valued over US$2,000 included three-side drawer desks, high back chairs, drawer cabinets, wall white board, an air conditioner and wireless router among several others, while Mr. James Momoh donated 30 realms of papers.
Receiving the Internews donation on behalf of the PUL, out-gone Secretary General D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh described the gesture as invaluable, and that the equipment were donated when they are needed the most.
“The PUL and its members are overwhelmed with joy for this donation which they least expected,” the former Secretary General noted. He described the PUL-Internews relationship as an excellent one that has helped to empower journalists to become more professional in bringing the news to the Liberian people and beyond over the year.
Internews is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect and the means to make their voices heard.
Internews Project Director Rachel Maher said the organization was pleased to make the donation to help strengthen the PUL’s capacity and enhance its work in championing the cause of media freedom and professional journalism in Liberia.
The outgoing PUL Secretary General has meanwhile applauded Mr. Momoh for the donation and stated that it will strengthen the secretariat and the media monitoring section of the Union.
Sengbeh said the donation will reduce the Union’s huge cost for stationery. “Running the PUL that has no budgetary support is nothing easy, and when these donations come, we appreciate them to the highest degree. It will help us a lot,” the he asserted.
Mr. Momoh, a former Liberian journalist, who is now an Adjunct Faculty at the African Center for Strategic Studies in Washington D.C, USA. He made the donation at the PUL Headquarters Friday.
The former BBC correspondent and one-time Inquirer Newspaper reporter said he was pleased to donate to help empower the PUL in its work. He said the PUL and the Liberian media have a major role to play in properly informing and educating the public about the 2017 electoral process.
Mr. Momoh noted that that the destiny of Liberia is in the hands of the media, and the media must play the required role in putting the country on the right trajectory by adequately informing the public to enable citizens make the right choices in the democratic process.
In another development, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has trained 12 monitors who will scrutinize media contents for professional and ethical breaches in the country.
The training is part of a grant the PUL secured from the Open Society for West Africa Initiative (OSIWA) titled “Strengthening the Liberian Media Freedom by Promoting Self-regulation & Accountability.”
The media monitors from both urban and rural Liberia have been equipped with knowledge and skills to track ethical concerns and advance recommendations to address them, with the aimed of improving the media’s performance.
Speaking at the close of the two-day training in Monrovia last Friday, PUL President K. Abdullai Kamara said the OSIWA-sponsored project was intended to improving the media environment and increasing professionalism, where in media practitioners will hold themselves accountable.
Kamara said the performance of the media, especially in terms of professionalism and ethical practices, has not been welcoming and there’s a need for improvement. One way to do so, he said, is monitoring the media and identifying problems and recommending solutions.
Thanking OSIWA for supporting the project, Kamara challenged the 12 trainees to themselves be examples by setting for themselves high ethical standards, and living up to the confidence reposed in them by the union to monitor media contents in their respective localities.
The PUL, Kamara, stated will continue to advocate for self-regulation against statutory regulation.
Former PUL President Peter Quaqua, also challenged the trainees to show themselves approved by doing professional monitoring that would be free of bias and inconstancies.
He said as monitors, they themselves needed to be more professional and should apply all the principles they had been taught during the two-day training.
Quaqua was consulted by the PUL to produce the monitoring guide that monitors would use to monitor the media for ethical and professional breaches.
The participants were drawn from Montserrado, Bomi, Grance Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Lofa and Nimba counties. The project will be increasingly spread to other counties, the PUL President said.

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