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AHEAD OF THE Poll on October 10, 2017, the media landscape is inundated with cynically so-called surveys (opinion polls) on the presidential poll in which the ‘conductors’ claimed particular candidates are being accepted over the others. As the watchdog of society bequeathed with some latitude to provide light amid darkness, such venture is essentially important as it is a new path of the media profession in Liberia which is not too honored for many reasons.

TO THE BEST of our knowledge, opinion polls are commonplace undertaking in advanced democracies which often give clear picture of candidates’ standing in an election, though the outcomes at times prove contradictory. In the US elections of last year, we witnessed a despicably varying twist of opinion polls conducted by some media establishments. Most of the polls favored Democratic Candidate, Hilary Clinton, as winning with near landslide over her Republican Contender, Donald Trump who eventually triumphed. Howbeit, the sophistication of the US media overstretched the Liberia media which is still trying to find professional and independent solace.

THE PAST WEEKS brought to light efforts by some media establishments to provide a picture regarding the standings of each of the presidential contenders, mainly those put in the top ranking order such as George Weah, Alexander Cummings, Charles Brumskine, Benoni Urey, Mills Jones and Joseph Boakai. In most cases, it is stated “poll or survey conducted by this paper, this network” shows candidate X is topping. Worryingly it is not noted the benchmarks and the procedures applied in the conduct of these surveys or polls in terms of the number of persons interviewed, their locations, ages and sexes or whether they are registered voters. It should beat anyone’s imagination that a Monrovia-based poll or survey is heavily relied on by the “conductors” to make judgments on the standing of candidates as the voters’ choice.

WHILE IT SHOULD be a good platform for candidates not captured in the so-called polls to step up the plate, this trend then unravels a sense of cynicism and gives good reasons for people to surmise otherwise that something is not going right. Everyone seems to be aware of the naïveté of the media here, its lack of potency to self-pilot coupled with its usual defenselessness in the face of pecuniary temptations. The ordinary Liberian man thinks “the media is not credible, and therefore not reliable” and they have given reasons for that. This reason too gives rise to concerns about the trends of surveys and polls under consideration.

ANOTHER SALIENT REASON it is drawing serious concerns is that it makes someone swollen-headed and it becomes a contentious issue tomorrow –protesting the outcome – when the person is just not in the first top three. The parties of these candidates are taking note of the various polls that favored them and could use same as the basis for remonstrance of the overall outcome of the elections in case they flop. It would be a plus for the media if these surveys prove positive after October 10, but until then, it is better to stop the snake from coming near you then to try to kill it after biting you.

LEST WE FORGET, journalists are under strict restrictions to refrain from acts, refrain from conducts that contradict the canons approved for the coverage of this election, as doing otherwise may prove dangerous for the elections and eventually disrupt the peace of the country. So it is extremely obligatory that we remind all journalists, media establishments to operate within the ethically professional jurisdiction for which the media is known. Anything short would be a disservice not only to the profession but to the entire nation. In short, the surveys and polls are too cynical in nature and scope and do not bring out the true meaning of such technical undertaking it supposed to be. Please stop the polls or surveys; they are cynically questionable.

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