President of FeJAL, Madam Siatta Scott Johnson

For Credible Elections: Liberian Media Urged To Emulate Sierra Leone’s Good examples

President of FeJAL, Madam Siatta Scott Johnson

The president of the Female journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) is calling on the Liberian Media to emulate the good examples of the Sierra Leonean Association of Journalists (SLAJ).

An example that ignited her called is the setting up of an Independent Media Network to coordinate the affairs of the media in times of elections and other national emergencies.

Speaking at the IRN Studio, Madam Siatta Scott Johnson said having a common entity to coordinate not only the affairs of the media but how individual journalists conduct themselves during these critical times is very important for post war countries like Liberia.

Madam Johnson added that the media plays a critical role in providing credible information to the public therefore such innovation by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists is worth emulating.  

“If we would take anything from Sierra Leone back to Liberia, the first and foremost thing would be the IRN’s style because we don’t have anything of such in Liberia; so, we are going to push to have an independent network like the IRN that will be able to coordinate the activities around the elections for other radio stations to simulcast, we feel that this is a credible and transparent venture,” she expressed.

The IRN Coordinator, Ransford Wright, said the IRN was established in 2002 to have all media institutions and reporters under one banner during outbreaks and national occurrences including elections.

He said the network is charged with the full responsibility to follow, cover and report all activities during elections, adding that all reporters are mandated to file in reports through an app developed by the network especially for elections coverage.

Mr. Wright revealed that a special training was conducted for journalists that were expected to cover the elections on a new App called the IRN’s elections reporting App. 

He said the App will help reporters file their reports digitally to the IRN for verification before publication.

Mr. Wright said further that the training was intended to prepare journalists for the huge tasks associated with reporting on elections adding that the IRN Elections App will ensure that journalists produce accurate, comprehensive, independent, calm, timely and balance reports on the pre, post and election days.

He noted that some of the issues the country faces are as the results and consequences of the election processes maintaining that during elections, all reporters under the Network are obligated to provide the public with timely access to information as watchdogs of the society.

Looking at the overall credibility of the Independent Radio Network, the Deputy Manager of Radio Democracy, Mabel Kabba, said so far, the IRN has not given radio managers the reasons to question their credibility.

She said the Network does not produce any contents without consulting radio stations that are part of the network.

She added that the Network members are guided by the Network’s code of conduct and the Independent Media Commission guidelines that prevent all reporters from being influenced.

“Every journalists practicing in Sierra Leone knows that when you are doing your work you should have at the back of your mind that there is a code of ethics and there is a code of conduct. Those are the bible that we don’t forget when we are practicing” Mabel Kabba

This report is by Patience Baye Koromah as part of the USAID Media Activity Cross Boarder Newsroom Leaders Fellowship.

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