The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) conducted its Annual Awards and Dinner Night at the Paynesville City Hall on Friday, July 1, bringing together journalists, government officials, civil society organizations, international organizations, well-wishers, among others.
The president of the Press Union, Kamara Abdullai Kamara, in his statement, urged the media to cooperate with the Press Union of Liberia to promote solidarity among media groups in the country, and further encouraged the media to help ordinary citizens by providing them with accurate news and information during the upcoming general and presidential elections.
Mr. Kamara said that the awards are the result of the sacrifices and creativity put forward by journalists in telling their stories, and said the awards should serve as an impetus for them to work harder.
Representing the Liberian government, Assistant Minister for Information Services at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Wellington Geevon Smith, assured the PUL and its membership that the government will not do anything to hinder press freedom in Liberia.
He stated that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed the Table Mountain Declaration and the Freedom of Information Act as clear indications of the government’s commitment to press freedom.
He urged the media to help protect the democracy that is being enjoyed in Liberia, and called on PUL officials to sensitize its members on the difference between journalism and social activism.
Several journalists and media institutions received awards for various areas of reporting. The Journalist of the Year went to Rodney Sieh of FrontPage Africa newspaper; Environmental Reporter of the Year was awarded to Julius D. Jeh of Fabric Radio; while Anthony Stevens and Mae
Azango won the Health Reporter and Development Reporter of the Year awards, respectively.
Other awards included, Photo-Journalist of the Year, Columnist of the Year, and Investigative Reporter of the Year as well as Newscaster of the Year, Business and Economist Reporter of the Year, Women’s Rights Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.
Fabric Radio was awarded the Best Radio Station of the Year, while Power Television and Front Page Africa were awarded as Best Television Station and Best Newspaper of the Year respectively.
The 2016 PUL Awards and Dinner Night was supported by the United States Agency for International Development, SRIMEX Oil and Gas, United Nations Development Program, Coca Cola, Kailondo Petroleum, INTERNEWS, and the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).
The PUL selection is based on submission of entries as required by a committee the authority set up to scrutinize each of the entries a reporter or a radio station would submit.