Sunday, May 17, 2009

Journalist

PRS Reporting Manual Launched

By Bill E. Diggs

The Liberian Media Center (LMC) with support from Trust Africa and Humanity United, on Friday, May 15, 2009 at the Monrovia city hall, launched the reporting Manual and the “Maiden Report on Assessing Coverage of the PRS and Information Flow” to serve as a guide to journalists reporting the Liberian Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).
This reporting manual was launched under a LMC one-year project title “Strengthened Media for Poverty Reduction and Democratic Governance” which is aimed at conducting media training on reporting corruption, the budget and the Poverty Reduction Strategy process.
According to the Executive Director of the Liberia Media Center (LMC), Lawrence Randall, when he presented a graphical statistics of various print and electronic media coverage in the first year of the PRS term, space and time are varied among the various media entities.
He added that some media had more time covering the PRS process but not enough space and others had more space but not enough time.
He further pointed out some of weaknesses of the Media, at community level, to report on the PRS as not having access to copies of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the Community Development Analysis (CDA).
He asserted that the reporting manual will serve as a reference guide for reporters and editors covering poverty related issues, and as a basis for comprehensively monitoring media reports on the PRS process.
In his final words, Randall said that until laws are made available to give the media access to relevant information of the PRS process, he still foresees adequate reports on the PRS.
In her keynote address at the launching ceremony, the British political counselor in Liberia, Madam Gillian Dare, emphasized the responsibilities of the media in relation to covering and dispensing information of developments as well as conflict.
She asserted that Liberia has suffered conflict, tremor and mismanagement for at least three decides which has left Liberia as a fragile nation.
She lamented that development is for everyone and must not and could not be left to the government alone, that media and religion alike have part to play in promoting development and peace.
“The media and religion collaborate to preach about changes in people lives and altitude,” she averred.
She urged media institutions not to undermine the government, but to open the government to public scrutiny.
“The media must be careful in reporting conflict not to aggravate the news. Get your evidence right before reporting your stories.
“There is a duty for people [journalists] who speak out for people to reached out to the people they speak for to understand and tell the story of the people,” the British counselor urged.
The Minister of Information, Rev. Dr. Laurence Bropleh, in his statement before the official launching of the journalist’s guide, said that the government of Liberia accepts constructive criticism.
He added that journalist must seize the opportunity to ask officials question of development and quit mixing politics with development.
He cited an incident when president Sirleaf returned from her medical trip, on which she maneuver to get a waver of some of Liberia’s huge debt and a journalist had a chance to asked a question.
The only question this journalist had in mind was ‘what do you intend to do about the travel ban on the oppositions,’ that was wrong the Rev. Dr. Bropleh said.

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