Daily Media Summary, Nov. 11, 2013

The Bureau of Public Affairs

Ministry of Foreign

Monrovia, Liberia




Today’s dominant stories captured in the local dailies include the slapping of PUL Elections With ‘Injunction’ by the Court, Pres. Sirleaf’s urge for collective efforts over media problems, Liberia’s AU Top Post, BIN Graduates 234  1st Post War Officers, Journalist Rodney Sieh’s final  freedom and the return of Children’s Surgery International,  amongst others.




PUL Congress Halted

Today’s editions of the various papers including the New Dawn newspaper reveal that the much touted congress of the Press Union of Liberia or PUL was forced to a halt on Saturday after some angry disqualified candidates slapped the union with an injunction, minutes before delegates to the congress could begin casting their vote for a new corps of leadership at the Fairground in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. This is the second time PUL has been slapped with a court injunction. The writ, delivered in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County put a full stop to every activity of the PUL Congress, including the elections, which should have given birth to a new corps of officers to lead the union for the next years. Presidential Aspirant, Mr. Joel Cholo Brooks and Vice Presidential Aspirant, Mr. W. Omecee Johnson filed the writ of injunction, which is clear that the Civil Law of Monrovia will now decide when the elections would be held.  When delegates, observers from the National Elections Commission, as well as other civil society observers and the James Wolo PUL Election Commission had already assembled for the process beginning with the debate for candidates, a dark color sheriff matched into the Fair Ground hall with pride and dignity and successfully served the writ of injunction.

Related Captions: Court Injunction Mars PUL Elections – What’s Afoot? (The Analyst), PUL Elections Halted(New Democrat), PUL Goes To Court Again – Tri-Annual Congress Halted (the Insight), Court Slaps PUL Elections With ‘Injunction’ (Daily Observer), Court Order Stops PUL Election (The Inquirer), PUL Elections Halted (Heritage)

Pres. Sirleaf Wants Collective Efforts Over Media Problems!

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has urged governments, media organizations , the private sector and development partners to work together to address issues that remain critical not only to the development of media in Africa but to progress across the continent.  In a statement to African media owners meeting in Addis Ababa for the sixth edition of the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF), the President recognized current efforts to strengthen media in Africa through initiatives to deliver training, improve content production, introduce new financing mechanisms, and promote codes of ethics.   She noted that the persistence of these problems and especially the lack of respect for the ethics of the profession posed the greatest threat to the emergence of a free, independent and responsible media in Africa Referring to the situation in Liberia, the President pointed to the media explosion that followed the return of peace and democracy to her country and said there was dire need for technical support and assistance in training for journalists, fashioning a strong self-regulatory framework, and committing to best practice, professional care and ethical standards – the same issues that were a subject of much discussion at the AMLF.  She spoke of her commitment to govern transparently and accountably, to deepen the rule of law, to protect freedoms and rights, and by such dedicated actions, to add value and new meaning to Liberian citizenship. In all of this, she added, "the role of a responsible, informed, adequately funded, professional and creative media is paramount".
President Sirleaf's statement was delivered during the final session of AMLF 13 - a "Heads of State Roundtable" that saw media owners debate a range of issues with the leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya, the New Dawn newspaper and other papers quote an Executive Mansion release.

Related Captions: Rhetoric Or Recommitment – Pres. Sirleaf Talks Of Need To Improve Media (The Analyst), Pres. Sirleaf Wants Media Problems Addressed (The Insight), Ellen Urges Collective Efforts Over Media Problems (Heritage), Ellen Underscores Media Development And Progress (New Democrat)

Liberia Gets AU Top Post

Liberia has been selected to serve as Co-Vice Chair on the Interim Board responsible for setting up the governance structure that will establish the Africa Cabinet Government Network (ACGN), the Director General of the Cabinet, Dr. Momo Rogers, informed the Cabinet recently. The Interim Board will be chaired by Dr. Ernest Surrur, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Republic of Sierra Leone, and Hon.  Abdon Nhial, Secretary General to the Government, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Republic of South Sudan, will serve as Co-Vice Chair, along with Dr. Rogers. The establishment of the Network is being supported and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through a 3-year pilot program, the Africa Cabinet Decision-making (ACD) program, involving Liberia, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.  The program, to be supervised by the consultant company Adam Smith International (ASI), will help build the capacity of up to 12 African Government Cabinet Secretariats to enable these governments to make better evidence-based collective Cabinet decisions, contributing to systematic and better implementation of national policies and development goals.  Already, five other African countries have shown interest to join the Network: Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, and Somaliland, the New Dawn newspaper reports. 

Related Caption: Liberia To Co-Vice Chair Interim Board For Establishment Of Africa Cabinet Government Network (The Heritage)

BIN Graduates 1st Post War Officers

Amidst the gradual drawdown of the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), authorities of the security sector are putting into place series of measures to assume full responsibility of running the sector. As part of such efforts, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) has graduated the management of those institutions. In remarks, Justice Minister Cllr. Christiana Tah indicated that graduating 234 BIN officers was a major step toward UNMIL transition, the Insight newspaper reports.

Related Caption:  234 BIN Graduates Warned (Daily Observer)

Rodney Freed At Last

The protracted legal wrangle against the FrontPageAfrica newspaper and its online edition appears to have ended with the release over the weekend of its Publisher and Managing Editor Rodney Sieh. He has been set free after battling with a US$1.5 million libel case brought against him by former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Chris Toe, for an article his paper published on him but it is not known whether he paid the money to Mr. Toe was restored, the New Democrat newspaper writes.

Related Captions: Rodney Sieh Freed At Last (The Inquirer), Rodney Sieh Released From Prison Permanently (Heritage)


CSI on Fifth Medical Mission to Firestone

The New Dawn newspaper says, a 25- team member, under the banner of the American medical charity, Children’s Surgery International (CSI), has arrived in Liberia on its fifth medical mission to the Firestone Medical Center located in Duside, outside Harbel. The team, which touched down on Friday, November 8, 2013, at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County on board a Delta Airline flight is expected to be in the country for about a week. Madam Lora Koppel, who coordinated some of CSI previous missions expressed delight to be back in Liberia and in particular at the Firestone Medical Center.  The team which comprises doctors, nurses, and other social workers are from renowned American medical institutions. They will in partnership with the medical personnel at the Firestone Medical Center perform free surgeries and other medical procedures on Liberian children afflicted by various kinds of facial deformities and other pediatric conditions. The Firestone Medical Staff treats about 9,000 patients each month with quality health care in various communities within the concession area. More besides, the Firestone Hospital is one of the best referral hospitals in Margibi County and the Republic Liberia. In addition, Firestone Liberia is partnering with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and UNICEF to store and administer vaccines that help prevent Liberians from range of diseases.

Related Caption: Children’s Surgery International Returns On 5th Medical Mission To Firestone (Daily Observer)

Other Stories

Vice President Boakai Praises Motorcyclists For Cooperating With Police

The Inquirer newspaper says Vice President of Republic of Liberia, the Honorable Joseph N. Boakai, is commending motorcyclists around the country for the demonstrated cooperating with the Police following the issuance of recent regulations. He said motorcyclists owe it to their riders and themselves to operate in a safe manner while the Police have a responsibility to ensure public safety.

PYJ Boycotts Forum on Petroleum Law?

According to the New Dawn newspaper, two Nimba lawmakers, including Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson have boycotted the ongoing nationwide public engagement on the draft petroleum law here under the auspices of the 53rd Legislature, much to the disappointment of many Nimbaians. The ongoing exercise, which is being spearheaded by House Speaker Alex Tyler, is intended to solicit citizens’ input into the draft petroleum law, which had already gone to Margibi and Bong counties.  However, it was totally a different story in Nimba last week where members of the 53rd Legislature had gathered, when three lawmakers from the county: Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Junior Senator Thomas Grupee and District #1 Representative Jeremiah Koung were conspicuously absent.

Nimbaians Want PYJ Out

The Insight newspaper reveals that  a group of young people from Nimba County, under the banner ‘Nimba Youth for Change’ has expressed desire to campaign against the re-election of the county’s Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson during the 2014 Special Senatorial Election. However, they are uncertain as to who they will support to replace Sen. Johnson. The leader of the group, Mr. S. Gontorwon Wehyee who is based in Monrovia last Thursday stated that the group now has a membership of 5, 000 who believ4e that their senator has failed to deliver on the social contract he entered with the people of Nimba prior to his election. Mr. Wehyee pledged that the Nimba Youth for Change rallying the support of their compatriots across the county in efforts to ensure that Senator Johnson does not get a second term. This intention on the group was unfolded to the public upon Mr. Wehyee’s return from the county were he alleged that there are mounting calls for Senator Johnson’s replacement. ‘This is because he has failed to honor the social contract he entered with the people of Nimba in 2003,’ Mr. Wehyee said.

7 Receive Ellen’s Recognition Award

Seven Liberians chosen for their excellence in the fields of academics, business, entertainment, sports, and youth development have been recognized in an award ceremony for their dedicatory roles demonstrated over the years in serving Liberian society. The special award is named in honor of Africa’s first female President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  The occasion took place at the Monrovia City Hall on Friday, November 8, 2013 and was attended by several top government officials and members of the public. Those receiving awards at the program included: Daniel Ankrah, who won the best radio presenter award; Prince Corvah and Matilda Parker were the male and female winners for the awards in humanitarian service; Aaron Clinton and Musulyn Myers were honoured as the best male and female entertainers; while Nehwon Suah and his female counterpart Kimberlyn Boe won the best scholar awards Giving an overview of the program, the executive director of AAW Peace, Barkue Tubma, explained that the nominees were chosen in a transparent manner, the Daily Observer writes.

2,000 Health Workers Expected on Payroll

The Chairperson on Health and Gender at the Liberian Senate says two thousand health workers are expected to be included on the government’s payroll, while the remaining six thousand would be added during subsequent budget years.  Senator Peter Coleman told this paper recently in Totota, Lower Bong County that those to be included on government’s payroll are trained and professional health workers, noting that the process would go on in stages, as the next budget will see the inclusion of another two thousand skilled health workers added.  He added that out of the six thousand health workers, only 33% are skilled health workers. Senator Coleman categorized skilled health workers as Physician Assistants, Registered Nurses, Midwives and Laboratory Technicians- people who stand the chances of full employment with the government per the agreement reached.  According to the Grand Kru County, the Liberian Senate has informed the Executive Branch of government to repay the fifty-five dollars deducted from all health workers in Liberia.  Meanwhile, Senator Coleman has disclosed that Grand Kru County has begun initiating several projects, including roads connection, as part of preparations for the hosting of the Independence celebrations in 2014.   He disclosed that the logging company- Atlantic Resources, promised to work in some of the major cities, including Barclayville. Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties have been designated to host next year’s Independence celebrations, the New Dawn reports

Bong County Receives US$75,000

The Bong County Scholarship Committee has received a check of US$75, 000.00 from China Union. The 2.6 billion Chinese company made the amount available on October 14 this year to cover payment of US$25,000.00 per year for the period of three years. China Union has been operating in the Fuamah District since 2010. Making the disclosure, three members of the committee said a Memorandum of Understanding was immediately signed between the scholarship committee and China Union upon receipt of the check. Though the actual purpose of the money is yet to be determined and disclosed, there are widespread reports that it would be paid to universities, as part of arrears owed them by the County.  Methodist Bishop-Emeritus Arthur Kulah, Regional Civil Society Head George Johnson and the Chairman of the French Department at the Cuttington University, GYF Genegbayan assured Bongese that the committee would do all in its will and power to properly handle the scholarship, ruling out the possibility of anyone benefiting without meeting the requirements, including  transcript or report card from a recognized institution of learning, as well as letters of recommendation from the religious community, among others. Bishop Kulah, Masers Johnson and Genegbayan said priorities would specially be placed on children who are from poor families, the New Dawn newspaper asserts.


NEC-IFES Ends Regional Media Training on Voter Roll Update

The National Elections Commission (NEC) in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has concluded the conduct of the third in a string of Regional Media Workshops for journalists on the January 13 to March 5, 2014 Voter Roll Update Exercise and the  October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.  The two-day workshop, held in the Provincial City of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, was attended by 26 journalists from community Radio Stations in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbapolu Counties. Topics discussed at the workshop include the Legal Basis for the Voter Roll Update exercise and the Special Senatorial Election, Overview of the Voter Roll Update Exercise, Eligibility Criteria for Participation in the Voter Roll Update Exercise and the Role of the Media in the Voter Roll Update Exercise and the Special Senatorial Election and the Role of Stakeholders in the Voter Role Update Exercise and the 2014 Special Senatorial Election, among others.  Participating journalists were drawn from Radio Piso, Radio Salam, Radio Gbapolu, Radio Mawopnet, Radio Bomi, Radio Kpo, Radio Kpongba and Radio Human Rights, among others, the New Dawn newspaper reports.