Business man Musa Hassan Bility has promised to contribute US$25, 000 annually to support activities of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).
Mr. Bility, who is also the president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), is the owner of Renaissance Communications (Truth FM & Real TV).
He made the announcement last Friday during the PUL Awards Night at the Paynesville City Hall, where several distinguished journalists were awarded for their excellent performances in the year under review in their various beats.
According to officials close to Mr. Bility, the offer is to ensure that Liberian journalists are helped to learn their craft and be able to perform credibly in providing balanced information to the Liberian people.
A section of the Liberian media has come under criticism for, among other issues, biased reporting; and therefore, many have called on the Liberian community at home and abroad to provide financial and material support for the development of journalists to provide balanced content.
Though Bility did not mention the specific reason for his offer, that he owns a media outlet and may have seen some performance lapses could be a strong indicator for the offer of support to the PUL.
“If journalists can get the Liberian business community to provide such support,” said a local journalist at the Awards Night, “it could help to reduce the kind of lapses that are seen in the various media’s performances.”
PUL officials welcomed Mr. Bility’s announcement and noted that the annual awards are meant to encourage journalists to do better.
However, several journalists have criticized the manner in which the awardees are selected.
“Instead of the PUL setting up a committee to do its own selection,” said a journalist at the Awards Night, “the PUL rather asks interested journalists to submit and defend their works, which I think should not be the way to go.”