Delaware, Newark- A State Department analyst, Ms. Christina Porche, has observed that peace and unity could not have been attained in Liberia without the involvement of the Liberian media.
Working in Liberia during the transitional period as Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Monrovia, Ms. Porche said, she saw the commitment of Liberian journalists to help solve some of the crises the country was confronted with, especially with HIV/AIDS. She said she worked with the local journalists and saw their immense talents during the HIV/AIDS campaign which helped to spread the message about the danger of the virus in rural Liberia.
Ms. Porche, who made the observation on Saturday, October 17, 2015 in Newark, Delaware when she served as guest speaker at the installation of officers of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), praised the Association's members for focusing on helping their fellow journalists back home, especially when they themselves “have limited resources.”
Speaking in her private capacity, Ms. Porche however, reminded the journalists that the Liberian media could be a helpful conduit in the areas of good governance, transparency and technology.
Those installed were: Moses D. Sandy, President; Joe Mason, Vice President; Gardea Varney Woodson, Secretary General; Mrs. Melissa Chea Annan, Treasurer; and Kelvin Johnson, Assistant Secretary General. Mr. Gabriel Williams, Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, DC, performed the installation on behalf of Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh.
In his inaugural statement, Mr. Sandy assured his fellow journalists of his commitment to work for the good of the Association and uphold the principle of good governance in Liberia. He said his administration plans to reactivate old chapters and create new ones, renew the expired ALJA 501c(3) status, create a website for the propagation of news and public information, collaborate with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in strengthening the government and media relations.
Mr. Sandy further said his administration will work with the PUL in clamping down on ethical transgressions in the Liberian media, seek clarification from the Union about the $100,000 donation from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the construction of its headquarters.
Making remarks at the occasion, Mr. Malcolm Joseph, former PUL Vice President and Executive Director of the Center for Media and Peace Building, who represented the Union, called on ALJA to expand through recruitment, and lauded the Association for its successful convention and the election of its officers.
For his part, former PUL President SuahDeddeh, said with the relaunching of ALJA and combined with its new leadership, “there is hope for the Liberian media.” Representing the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), its Secretary General Arthur Weah Doe said his organization will collaborate with ALJA in advancing the cause of Liberians in the Americas, adding, “ULAA can't succeed without ALJA.”
Recommendations adopted at the Convention called for ALJA's membership to include Liberian journalists in the diaspora, and that each convention be held in the month of October. The next gathering of Liberian journalists is slated for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.