The former President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Peter Quaqua, has sharply condemn journalists for their ‘unruly conduct’ that has negative public reflections.
Mr. Ququa’s comment comes barely a week after Grand Kru County District #2 Representative Fonati Koffa chided Liberian journalists at the PUL’s Congress for intimidating and harassing news makers for money and other gifts.
As panel discussion was ongoing on November 8, 2019 on self-regulation of the media and, at the same time, journalists disturbing, Mr. Quaqua, who is currently the President of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA), took serious exception to the poor deportment of journalists in the hall.
“As we speak of self-regulation,” Quaqua said, “we need not only regulate institution, but ourselves. Each of us must have our own ethical standard to govern us; and we should behave properly if we must gain respect from others.”
PUL Congress brings together journalists who are members to discuss crucial issues about the survival of the media organization; and decisions are mostly taken through votes that the majority will favor.
While discussing a financial report and other issues raised by New Democrat Editor, Festus Poquie, some journalists who wanted copies of the report began to disrupt the discussion, despite efforts by the Congress Chairman, Attorney Alphonsus Zeon to contain the poor conduct.
Mr. Quaqua, attempting to contain the poor conduct that embarrassed others in attendance, ended up raising the song, “The more we are together”, to draw attention to the discussion at hand, which would be followed by a pre-elections debate.
Other journalists were also outdoors, engaging into noisy argument, exchanging insults on the campus of the University of Liberia (UL) without participating in discussions concerning the Press Union.
During the debate, some journalists nearly got in a fist fight in the UL Auditorium when Journalist Winston Blyden used vulgar language against vice presidential candidate Weemon Boyce Jallah-Cole, questioning her virtue as a woman.
His profanity sparked up contentions, leaving others quite annoyed to the point of intense argument that brought the entire debate to a standstill.
Some of them were caught with bottles of liquor in the hall despite warning from the debate committee that such was not allowed.
John Kollie, a senior journalist and head of the Liberia Media Development Initiative (LMDI), said “We are considered the intellectual group; why will we behave below the expectation of people about us? The country people can behave better than us as my experience with them can show me.”
Non-members of the PUL who had gone to witness the debate expressed disappointment over the poor conduct of the journalists, with some reacting that what they witnessed was least expected of journalists who should be a group of respectable people in the society.
“Journalists report everything people do, but here they are, behaving worse than those whom they report about,” a spectator said.