The president of the Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) Keith Morris has strongly voice out that the entity remains “no go zone” for politicians who are desirous of using the media to achieve their 2017 political ambition.
Addressing newsmen at the Capitol Building recently in Monrovia, Mr. Morris attributed the presence of mischief within the RAL’s hierarchy to politicians who believe that the media would be used to achieve their political ambitions.
“2017 will be a rocky role for all journalists and if we are not smart, careful, and if we cannot uphold our integrity, we will be used like fools. Some politicians want to use the association, which will be resisted to the fullest. No one, not even the president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) or RAL can tell anyone how to give headlines to stories. We will not allow any politician to play with the integrity of the media,” he said.
According to him, there are people within the Capitol Building who believe that becoming president of Liberia means they must have control over the media.
The president reaction comes after recent assertions and resignation of his vice president Justice Clarke.
Clarke recently resigned and accused Morris of “singlehandedly running the association.”
Among other things, Morris is accused of refusing to secure an office space for the association over the years and failing to establish bank account for RAL.
In reaction, Morris dismissed Clarke’s assertions terming them as “share-insincerity.”
“Regrettably, he talked about office space that he knows nothing about. Clarke does not know extend of the conversation involving PUL and RAL relative to the office space.
How many times have you seen Clarke at any PUL functions, he asked reporters? Clarke has never had talk with any PUL official on securing the office space he claimed to be one of the reasons for his resignation,” he stressed.
Mr. Morris maintained that he has been involved with advocating for journalists and creating the necessary atmosphere for reporters without fear or intimation in providing information to the public.
“Our advocacy for journalists includes, engaging government on lifting curfew on journalists, fighting for the rights of several colleagues from Heritage, LIB24, and Parrot Newspaper among others,” Morris declared.
Mr. Morris said it was saddened to note that since the ascendancy of Clarke as vice president of the association, he has failed to make his presence recognized to its members.
“This includes his failure to attend meetings with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) who happened to be the mother organization of the association.
“The former VP on many occasions failed to make representation on behalf of the organization in several PUL meetings, which include the 10 Year Strategic Plan for the Media initiated by the Union last year,” he noted.
According to Mr. Morris, he called on the former vice president on several occasions to make representation of the association but failed evidence by emails, calls and text messages which were displayed during the conference.
Relative to the issue of account, Morris explained that they will not open the association’s account if the organization does not complete the leadership of the organization that will include financial secretary and chaplain that will be signatories to the account by law.
Meanwhile, Morris commended the former vice president for his time with the association and appointed new election committee to replace Clarke.
The committee Elwood Dennis of The Analyst newspaper, Gloria Tamba of Daily Observer, Henry Karmo of FrontPage Africa newspaper among others.