A member and former official of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Journalist Jonathan Paye-Layleh, has declared that he may no longer agree to serve on any committee set up by the leadership of the union until he has seen some convincing improvements in the way and manner many members of the union have treated their own organization over the years.
He said he is saddened and disappointed that most of the journalists who turned out in Ganta over the weekend for the union’s 5th National Congress showed interest only in the election aspect of the congress and shamelessly stayed away from taking part in other critical deliberations for which the congress had been called, including the validation of the new Code of Ethics and the new Media Council for journalists as well as the financial report of the outgoing leadership.
Mr. Paye-Layleh was on the committees that spent several weeks drafting the Press Union’s new Code of Ethics as well as the Union’s new Media Council protocol. But the committees made their presentations to an almost empty hall.
A member of the PUL since 1987, Mr. Paye-Layleh observed that at some point in Ganta, there were less than 30 journalists in the hall deliberating on key issues, including the Codes, even though more than four hundred journalists went to the congress.
“If the sole purpose of our going to Nimba was to elect a new corps of officers,” he said, “we would not have abandoned everything to spend whole three days in the county.”
Mr. Paye-Layleh expressed particular disappointment that even some media practitioners who contested key positions were among those staying away from sessions in which critical matters, including the outgoing leadership’s financial report, the validation of the Union’s new Code of Ethics and new
Media Council were deliberated on.
In a press release, he wondered how people desirous of heading an institution could themselves decide to boycott sessions deliberating on issues that are very important and completely new in the history of the institution.
Paye-Layleh, a former chairman of the Press Club of the Press Union, said he will continue to be a committed and dues-paying member of the PUL. But in view of the frustration just expressed, he may no longer use his energy to sit on any PUL committee until the membership has shown that the Union is a serious body.
“We have to take ourselves seriously before others take us seriously,” his press release concluded.