The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) will shortly benefit from the national cake which is the 2014/2015 Fiscal Budget if the Liberian Senate approves a proposal from one of their members.
A letter emanating from the office of Montserrado Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff called on the body to help the union accelerate some of its programs and responsibilities to its members.
Senator Doe Sheriff’s proposal is being triggered by research document which clearly identifies countries around the world where budgetary support is being fully tested.
The Senator said the media plays a major role in the reconciliatory and development drives of the nation and it was prudent for the institution to be given some help to continue its democratic enhancement programs in the Liberian society.
A letter from two Liberian journalists Benson Whea and Alexander Bealded sent to Senator Doe-Sheriff sparked the discussion:
In the letter, the two Journalists said: “As you may be aware, the Press Union of Liberia is a conglomeration of all media institutions and journalists for the championing of Free Press, free speech, protection of the rights of journalists and adherence to professional ethics by media practitioners.
Under its mandate, the PUL is under obligation to ensure the training of journalists, decentralize its activities for media development and ensure adherence to ethical standards across the country.
Messrs Whea and Bealded informed the lawmaker that PUL as it stands can't adequately perform these activities with its current low cash flow or funding coming from the collection of dues paid by its members and the reliance on hope for donor funding to run the institution in an effective manner.
“Considering these realities, we pray your honorable distinguished office to initiate and lead a discussion/debate in the Senate for budgetary support to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) aimed at strengthening the (PUL) to carry out its activities as mentioned above,” the two journalists pleaded in the letter.
Justifying the purpose for the support, the two journalists called on the Senate through its ways and means committee for an initial allotment of (US$300,000) as subsidy to the institution, adding “this amount will enable the union undertake in-country and out of country training programs for her members, build the capacity of media houses with state of the art equipment and as well address those issues relevant to media development and growth as we move into an era of cutting-edge technology.”
They indicated that the current leadership of the Press Union is pursuing development journalism through training programs for journalists that are directly involved in the fieldwork in the face of growing demands for quality and good taste in the journalism profession.
According to the two men, this, in itself will largely contribute to career development and ethical reportage that will continue to sustain the peace, highlight democratic governance of the state and the protection of human rights.
The Senate, the journalists said, can be assured that the subsidy requested will in no way compromise the independence, integrity and critical posture of the Liberian media, but rather address some of the major challenges and constraints confronting the industry.
Senators showed their overwhelming support to the idea Tuesday with some wanting to have the document opened for discussion so they are heard on the subject.
With said support, the parent body of journalists in the country will be more robust in her work nationwide with community radio projects, amongst others.