In order to effectively report on the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus in Liberia by local and international journalists, the Ministry of Information says the current passes being used by journalists will be devalued effectively as of Saturday, May 2nd, 2020.
Addressing reporters today at the Ministry of Information, the Deputy Minister for Public Affairs, Eugene Fahngon said all journalists, especially those with radio stations and online platform will be given priority in the issuing of the new passes that will bear security features. “We want the world to know the progress being made in the fight of this deadly virus,” Minister Fahngon Said.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) says it is not part and does not support the printing of new passes by Deputy Information Minister for public affairs Eugene Fahngon.
The PUL is urging journalists and Media workers across the country to go about their journalistic work with proper identification cards as required by the joint security.
The PUL in a release expressed disapproval to the new directive of Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon calling for the cancellation of current press passes and the printing of new passes in isolation with the PUL.
The Union believes that Deputy Minister Fahngon unilateral action perhaps is intended to selectively provide accreditation to certain Media outlets and deny other Media institutions.
Press Union of Liberia President Charles B Coffey Jr. has termed as unrealistic ,and a calculated attempt by Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon to ignore the good work of the Media in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic across the country from the unset without passes.
Mr. Coffey indicated that journalists have been trained to disseminate factual information about the virus thus taking some members of the public from the denial stage to the realities of the pandemic.
He said the Media continued to play a pivotal role in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic despite the economic hardship being experienced by the media practitioners.
According to him, journalists don’t need new passes to inform and educate the public about the Coronavirus pandemic and urged the Information Ministry to redirect the money for the printing of new passes to Strengthening the capacity of the Media.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia wants stronger solidarity between and among journalists and Media institutions in the difficult times of the nation’s history.