The president of the Workers Union at the Liberia Broadcasting System (WULBS), G. Moses K. Dorbor, says journalists are not politicians and wants them to stop associating with politics and politicians, something that could undermine their neutrality and the nation’s stability.
Speaking to this newspaper over the weekend, Mr. Dorbor said Liberia’s democracy is not yet mature for any comparisons to be made between her political system and that of the United States of America.
Mr. Dorbor’s advice came following NBC and other media entities in the United States openly supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the November 8 presidential elections in that country.
‘’If care is not taken, journalists in Liberia may go from being watchdogs for the public to promoters of hate, divisiveness and chaos in an effort to satisfy the selfish intents of politicians through accepting bribes,’’ Mr. Dorbor said.
He said it is unethical for a journalist to openly or even secretly express his or her support for a particular political figure or institution.
‘’I am calling on the National Elections Commission to come up with clearly defined guidelines for journalists as activities leading to a successful conduct of the 2017 elections proceed,’’ he said.
The LBS Workers Union boss said journalists should choose either to adore their profession or be mere servants of politicians who, after their successes at the polls, dump them because they have no further need for them.
Mr. Dorbor also called on the security sector to be unbiased in dealing with election violence.
‘’The friends in the opposition camp should receive equal protection by police and other law enforcement officers as provided for by law.
“The opposition block is not an enemy to the state for which the state security, mainly the police, should be brutal in dealing with them, even if there are violations,’’ he said, adding that partisans of various political parties should also be responsible citizens and obey the laws.
A little over two weeks ago, the Executive Director of the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, Malcom Joseph, frowned at the involvement of media houses in the country’s politics simply because they are looking for recognition and monetary gain.
Speaking at a dialogue organized by the National Youth Movement for Transparency in Elections (NAYMOTE) in Monrovia recently, Mr. Joseph said the Daily Observer, Truth FM as well as some other media houses that openly supported the Unity Party in 2005 and 2011 were completely wrong.
‘’This is Liberia and I believe it is not good for our culture which has been greatly affected by civil unrests,’’ he said.
Mr. Joseph called on all media practitioners and entities to be very careful in the roles they play come 2017.
However, the Publisher and Managing Director of the Daily Observer, Kenneth Y. Best, said he ‘sits on no one’s fence’ and asked that his and the name of his media entity (Daily Observer) be left alone.
‘’We were called on a number of occasions to respond to the question concerning our role in the recently held elections and we clearly made our points known.
‘’It is time for us to forge ahead instead of continuously discussing issues already dealt with in the past,” Mr. Best said.