PAL Quits Executive Mansion Meeting

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In a dramatic turn of events, senior members of the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL), a conglomeration of newspaper editors, walked out of a meeting called by the Executive Mansion and Ministry of Information.  The walkout came as a result of ongoing concerns regarding the use of the Liberian President’s official website for advertising purposes. Officials at the Ministry of State have been utilizing the President’s website to advertise multinational corporations, NGOs, and other business entities, an issue that has been a longstanding problem. PAL has repeatedly voiced their concerns to the Executive Mansion, urging them to discontinue this practice. The publishers strongly believe that using the President’s website for commercial gains undermines the economic well-being of the Liberian media. During the meeting, Presidential Press Secretary, Kula Fofana, attempted to justify the use of the website for advertising. Fofana argued that this practice is a best practice and has been continued since previous regimes. She emphasized that by using the website for advertising, Liberians living abroad would have access to vacancy announcements and other crucial information about the country. However, this justification only served to infuriate some media owners and editors who were present at the meeting. To compound matters, the Press Secretary mandated that journalists covering the President must first show the companies’ business registration papers, tax clearances, and police clearances. This requirement drew parallels to past regimes using tax and police clearances to bar journalists from operating, further fueling the publishers’ frustration. In response to this situation, some newspapers have even withdrawn their reporters from the Executive Mansion. This strong action by the publishers aims to draw the attention of President Joseph Boakai to address their concerns. The publishers are deeply dissatisfied with the Executive Mansion’s actions, which they believe are pushing the media into abject poverty and targeting critical media. In an attempt to address the growing discontent, the Press Secretary asked the publishers to write a formal letter expressing their displeasure to the Executive Mansion. The publishers argue that the actions of the Executive Mansion are jeopardizing the interests of the independent Liberian media and hindering fair and unbiased reporting. The Publishers Association of Liberia calls for a resolution to this issue in order to safeguard the interests of the independent Liberian media and ensure fair and unbiased reporting. It remains to be seen how the Executive Mansion will respond to the concerns raised by the publishers and whether steps will be taken to discontinue the use of the official website for advertising purposes. smartnewsliberia.com

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