The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Grievance and Ethics Committee has called the attention of some media houses to their constant failure to properly give attribution to stories, including those lifted from fellow media institutions.
A statement signed by the Committee’s Chairman, Frank Sainworla, said such practice of not giving credit to sources where stories are lifted is grossly unprofessional and it amounts to plagiarism, an intellectual crime.
The statement said the alert serves as a warning to all those involved to desist, as their failure will lead the Ethics Committee with no alternative but to begin publically naming and shaming in line with enforcement of the PUL’s code of conduct and ethics.
Article 3 of the code demands crediting of sources as it says: “The Journalist should refrain from plagiarism, defamation, obscenity, slander and unfounded accusations. Where there is need to use other’s material, it is proper to credit the source.”
The Committee observed that this warning is prompted by what now appears to be a pattern by some public and private media outlets to lift stories from others without giving the appropriate credit.
The Chairman of the Ethics Committee said it has particularly become more rampant with stories lifted from the Liberia News Agency (LINA).
For example, recently, two radio stations lifted up to six LINA stories in their bulletin word-for-word without giving the needed credit to the source.
“This is professionally wrong and must be discontinued, because crediting the source of giving information takes nothing away from a media house, but it in fact enhances professional credibility,” the Committee said.
Meanwhile, the PUL’s Ethics Committee is again reminding all journalists and media outlets of their professional responsibility to ensure that their stories are at all times balanced, fair and accurate with the truth being their guide.