Chief Justice Challenges Liberian Media
By: Martin C. Benson
The Liberian media has been challenged to serve as a driving force towards the cultivation and growth of peace, unity, culture and value within the country.
Delivering her keynote address recently during programs commemorating the 14th Anniversary of The NEWS Newspaper at the YMCA auditorium, Justice Scott said the media through its role and responsibilities has power that impact the belief system, therefore its messages must be positive for the growth of socio-economic development of Liberia.
Speaking on the topic:"Does The Legal and Constitutional Guarantee of Independence Grantd To The Press Create The Public Trust and Duty", Justice Scott said the press does not only atticulate the views of the people but it also impacts and shapes the influences and opinion.
She said the press is that medium through which facts, concepts, ideas and principles are brought to the public for consumption, as such a successful press is the press which searches for the truth.
Justice Scott said in the Liberian society today, where there is very low literacy rate, where people do not read with understanding, the power of the press has become more immense because the public generally accepts as true and factual whatever the press publishes.
"Facts, distorted facts or misrepresentation of facts classically presented by the press are accepted by the reading public without further scrutiny", Justice Scott interjected and continued, "because of that the press impacts on the belief system of the people and their culture".
She said the decision to promote peace, healing, and renewal of Liberia, lies with the press, while the decision to also contribute to violence, destruction, "brokeness", disintegration, division and the collapse of this nation also lies with the press.
She said like most courts and Justice system, the power of the press is more credible when exercised ndependently.
Earlier, the Managing Editor of The NEWS newspaper, Mr. Jerome Dalieh in his anniversary statement, highlighted the challenges and prospects of the Liberian media.
He said inspite of the tedious responsibilities the paper is committed to achieving its goals as it has been doing for the 14 years.
"We are at a cross-road as an institution. We are committed to the cause of promoting peace and reconciliation", Mr. Dalieh asserted.
During the program, the paper's Personalities of The Year, 2002 were presented certificates.
Among them were Mr. Jonathan C. Taylor, Sr. Mary Laurene, OSF, Archbishop Michael K. Francis, Chief Cyril A. Allen and Atty. T. Dempster Brown.
Representatives from the civil society, UNDP, the Press Union of Liberia graced the occasion.