By Tina S. Mehnpaine
The Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL), an auxiliary group of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), has joined others to distribute several assorted materials to reporters of various media organizations to use in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
The materials include nose masks, sanitizers, and alcohol. According to the RAL, reporters are at risk in contracting the virus because they go around gathering information for publication and broadcasting, and in the process they need protective care as they go about their assigned reportorial duties.
Recent record shows that Liberia has recorded 6 confirmed cases with no death being reported.
Media organizations receiving the coronavirus preventive materials are the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) Public Affairs session Reporters, Ministry of Health Reporters, Association of Judicial Reporters and Legislative Press Pool of Liberia (LEGISPOL).
Presenting the materials, the President of the RAL, Cecelia Clarke said it was her organization’s way of identifying with reporters during the critical health crisis as they performed their various duties as media practitioners.
“We are aware of the tremendous contribution that you are making during this time. This is why we deemed it necessary to identify with you,” she said.
According to her, there are plans to extend the services to reporters in other parts of the country.
“Reporters are front liners like health workers in the crisis, and as such they must be protected,” she added.
Madam Clarke added that RAL sees the need to distribute these preventives items because they are concerned about the safety of their members across the country.
She indicated that the resources they are using to provide the materials to their members are taken from their limited resources.
Meanwhile, Madam Clarke has called on media owners to ensure that reporters are provided the necessary support during this critical health crisis.
“It will be prudent if media owners can understand the need to pay or compensate reporters during such time,” she said.
Isaac Solo Kelgbeh, Press Secretary to President George Weah, acknowledged the efforts of the leadership of the RAL, noting that it was in the right direction.
“Your intervention is warm and timely as it demonstrates responsible leadership,” he said.
For his part, Lawrence Fahnbulleh, a reporter who covered the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICAT), lauded the RAL for the materials and expressed their commitment in reporting during the health crisis.
Also speaking, James Karimu of LEGISPOL called on the office of the speaker, Chief Justice, Senate Pro- Tempore, and media development partners to support the RAL with funding in order to reach more of its members.