PUL Honors Journalists, Media Houses

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The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has honored several journalists and media institutions for their excellent performance over the past year. Those individual journalists and institutions honored by the PUL include Moses Garzeawu of Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Julius N. Konton of SKY 107, and Bettie Johnson and Mae Azango, both of FrontPage Africa, who walked away with three awards.
The PUL named Solomon Watkins as Health Reporter of the Year, Moses Garzeawu as Sports Reporter of the Year, Julius N. Konton as Development Reporter of the Year (Broadcast), Bettie Johnson as Judicial Reporter of the Year, Martha Akorsah of In-profile Daily as Columnist of the Year and Mae Azango, Development Reporter of the Year (Print), Human Rights Reporter of the Year and Investigative Reporter of the Year.
Among others, Tecee Boley was named Business and Economics Reporter of the Year, Darius Zinnah, Legislative Reporter of the Year and media houses include FrontPage Africa as Newspaper of the Year, Power TV as TV Station of the Year.
Others are: Radio Veritas as Radio Station of the Year and Kintoma in Lofa as Community Radio Station of the Year.
Counselor Tiawan Gongloe in the keynote address during the awards dinner held at the Paynesville City Hall last Friday noted that the challenge for all journalists, given the past, is to practice their profession in a manner that promotes greater freedom of the press.
It is for the freedom to inform, educate and entertain Liberians that many journalists and advocates over the years have been subjected to arbitrary detention, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by past governments.
Cllr. Gongloe said that honoring the journalists that have been judged to be best suited for recognition in various areas of the profession during the past year was PUL’s way of encouraging all Liberian journalists to commit to improving the standard of journalism in Liberia.
Speaking on “The Role of the Press in Promoting and Protecting Press Freedom in Liberia”, he said the resistance to freedom of the press has over the years been manifested by arbitrary arrests and torture of journalists, arson attacks and closure of newspapers and private radio stations.
He alluded to the shutdown of the Chronicle by the government about a year ago. The newspaper is still closed. Cllr. Gongloe however noted that the press enjoys “a little more freedom than in the past” and urged journalists to practice their profession in such a manner that promotes greater press freedom in the country. He cautioned journalist to conduct their work in a way that makes the public resist any attempt by government to curtail press freedom.
“If due to poor journalism the Liberian people call upon the government to close the media space, it would be a herculean task for the press and lovers of press freedom to reopen it,” Gongloe warned.
He further warned journalists not to let the current degree of freedom they now enjoy on the sweat of those like Tuan Wreh and the pamphleteer Albert Porte, who made great sacrifices, to slip away by their failure to maintain a high degree of honor and dedication in the practice of their profession.
Lecturing journalists on some complaints from the public about their work he cautioned them against rushing to publish unverified information, mercenary journalism, failure to do research, poor grammar, spelling, pronunciation and diction which he feared are building a growing negative reaction of people against the press and press freedom in the society.
“If much effort is not made by members of the Press Union to improve the quality of journalism in Liberia, those of us who put our legal profession at the disposal of many journalists over the years as a demonstration of our support for press freedom, may lose the battle for press freedom. Members of the Press Union must not let this happen,” said Cllr. Gongloe.

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