Special Awards In Pictures

WITH THE KIND of drift the journalism profession has taken in Liberia during this electioneering period, it would be less an astonishment when the nation goes off balance and the public rattles in desolation after the polls on October 10 – this is what happens when journalists become agents of transgression and unprincipled conducts.

IT IS OF concern that the current trend of journalism in Liberia – as epochal the election is dubbed in the context of sustaining the country’s present democratic trajectory - seems not shielded by the pillars of factuality, fidelity and prescribed ethos, but rather by sheer uncharacteristically interest-laden campaign and character assassination contest that is strongly powered by financial rewards. Unarguably, of course, listening to radio stations and the ostensibly pecuniary ill-driven and stage-managed talk shows, reading some of the snappish headlines in the paper leaves enough room for suspicion and unease. Journalism has got ugly and is at the worst form of practice in Liberia.

 

TO PUT SUCCINCTLY and judging from these very troubling and scaring developments with the potency to trigger national discontent, discord and political instability, the media has sunken in the tummy of unprofessionalism, gravely trading in the turbulent promotion of hate speech and yellow journalism, thus positioning itself in a manner vastly contradictory to ethical responsibilities. Very contradictorily and vexingly too, some of the journalists involved in these conflict-lumbered actions are among some of the ‘journalistic Lionel Messi or Ronaldo’ of Liberia.


THESE RATHER DEMOSTRATIVELY obnoxious journalistic tendencies only confirm the views held by the public that journalism is done in strange fashion and journalists in Liberia “are mere join the list,” if not professionally untrained and insentient. Though it is held that some aspects of a journalist's job are not subject to any kind of law but are just as important, however, they must strive to present an accurate, well-balanced explanation of the stories they cover.


FOR THE SAKE of journalists’ sacrosanct obligation to society, it behooves ‘Talk Shows hosts and bullied media owners’ not to become so cock-eyed when giving the public a clear picture of the candidates contesting the presidency. To single out a particular candidate and badmouth him/her on the basis of prejudice encouraged by ill-gotten information is the greatest sin against the noble profession of journalism, and those who thrust such hate dare pay a price the hardest, too. Journalistic partiality, we are told, gave rise to the “Genocide” visited upon the people of Rwanda when millions were slaughtered.


WE ARE TOLD journalists have an obligation to present all sides of an issue, and to conduct extensive research and talk to several sources knowledgeable about the subject. If they present only popular opinion, or if they conduct minimal research without fully exploring the subject, they don't give readers and viewers the information they need to understand the implications of the event or issue.


CANDIDLY, THE OBSESSION is that journalism is not a platform for the promotion of animosity, disharmony, social disorder and bigotry, rather it serves as fertile tool for national cohesion, equality, political development and democratic sustenance. Until Liberian journalism soberly reflects on the core values of the profession to be able to remodel its sullied pride and prestige, Liberia turns on axle of a long-lasting conflict. It is only sad that belly-driven characters who are careless about ‘professionalism and national interest’ sit at the very helm of the journalistic order. The ugliness of journalists’ deeds in this electioneering period is troubling and needs to be checked.

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