Media Coverage on Corruption, Budget Advocated
By Lewis K. Glay
The Liberia Media Center (LMC) is one of such entities wanting to see a full scale monitoring of the media on corruption issues and how the budget is expended in the interest of the Liberian people.
The center kicked off the awareness over the weekend when it hosted a cross section of media representatives at a one -day Budget Roundtable at the Headquarters of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in Monrovia.
It was an opportunity for the participants at the forum to interface with presenters and facilitators to discuss media reportage on the budget.
Budget Bureau Director Augustine K. Ngafuan would have expounded on the topic: “The Budget vs. Revenue: How can the Public Keep Track of Public Funds and Expenditures,” while UNDP Senior Economist Kamil K. Kamaluddeen was to deliberate on the topic: “The Budget and Good Governance. But both presenters did not turn out due to circumstances that were not explained.
However, UNICEF Project Assistant for Information and Communications Unit, Sam W. Johnson spoke on the topic: “The Role of the Media in Fiscal Transparency and Public Participation in the Budget Process.”
The exercise was also intended to enlighten journalists, especially Legislative correspondents as to how they should trace the allocation and expenditures of the budget among various branches, ministries, agencies as well as public corporations of government.
As a systematic monitoring process, the media could serve as a conduit through which the taxpayers could be educated to know the manner and way the nation’s resources are being utilized by the government.
The roundtable is expected to continue on a quarterly basis, focusing on group discussions with select editors and media stakeholders whose highlights of the findings of the monitoring can serve as guidelines for budget monitoring and corruption reporting.
To set a viable standard, the LMC is aimed at selecting ten frequently published newspapers and five local radio stations including ELBC to get involved in the monitoring process which is expected to run for a one year period in order to capture and document assessments of media activities.
Selected institutions will also be monitored and assessed as far as their coverage of anti corruption and budget monitoring reporting are concerned.