The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) has expressed serious disappointment over government’s reluctance to meet up with its indebtedness incurred with the Liberian media in the two years since the ruling CDC government came to power.
At an emergency meeting in Monrovia on Friday, the Publishers noted that despite the government’s repeated promises to meet up with its financial obligations to the media, it appears to have deliberately refused to live up to its promises.
As a result, media institutions are going through serious financial crisis, as their advertising revenue base remains at an all-time low. Compounded by the government’s failure to pay its debt is the fact that the Executive Mansion website has over the past years has undercut media revenue by publishing vacancy and bid notices for free, which used to be a key revenue earner for the local media.
The prevailing situation is forcing local newspapers into economic strangulation, amid the daily high cost of printing, generator fuel and other logistics that the media need to underwrite on a daily basis, especially in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
At their meeting over the weekend, the newspaper publishers warned that government’s continuous failure to pay its debt to media institutions would eventually lead them to taking several actions, including media blackout and possible withdrawal from the newsstands.
The media practitioners recalled that late last year, during the induction of the President of the Press Union of Liberia, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. publicly announced the Liberian Government’s willingness to settle all media bills.