Ahead of the planned June 7 protest, the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at fostering collaborative efforts to ensure Journalists’ during and after the protests.
The MoU was signed at the headquarters of the LNP on Capitol Hill, in Monrovia on Monday June 3, 2019.
The MOU also seeks to provide a cordial working relationship between the joint security team and the Media beyond the protest in an effort to maintain peace and stability and the respect for the rule of law in the discharge of duties.
According to the President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Charles Coffey, Journalists over the period fall victims to chaos due to the lack of early preparation with joint security apparatus’ to ensure a smooth working environment free of intimidation for journalists.
“This effort of signing an MOU cut across just the June 7 protest and it will be binding on both parties to respect and uphold the importance of the MOU which will serve a long way for collaboration with the joint security team in the discharge of our duties,” Mr. Coffey averred.
Mr. Coffey furthered that the MOU will ensure journalists safety and visibility throughout the protest which will include the printing of jackets and other visibility measures for security recognition.
He cautioned the media to refrain from hate messages that would undermine the peace and security of Liberia and plunge the country into crisis, noting that journalists must report facts with credibility, balanced and fair reportage.
“The principle of good journalism demands accuracy and fairness and balance coverage and there is no history in Liberia that records journalists’ reports bringing violence and we all must maintain said record.”
The PUL President called on Officers of the LNP to be cognizant of the pivotal role media play in society and protests in order to uphold the MOU and maintain a harmonious relationship with journalists.
“I want to see that no journalist is affected in the protest because journalists are no party to conflicts so we are calling on the protesters to respect the media during the protest and caution properly guide their groups against violence because Liberia is all we have”, Mr. Coffey noted.
Signing the MOU, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue openly pledged to uphold the peace and security of Liberia through a stronger collaboration from the joint security sector and the media.
Police IG Sudue said that the signing ceremony demonstrates a milestone in LNP’s history for collaborating with the media while pointing towards the critical role media plays to maintain peace and stability throughout the country.
He urged journalists to report factual information that prevents chaos while mentioning the result of hate messages from media houses in Kigali which sparked huge tension resulting in conflict.
“The joint security remains open to the public and the media to ensure that the June 7 protest is held in a peaceful manner that wouldn’t undermine our peace, which is a direct implementation of the Freedom of Information law that provides openness and flow of information”.
He assured the general public of safety and security for all within the confines of Liberia, noting that there are securities measures at various point of entry to the country and the joint security force are on the alert for any chaos of tension that may arise.
“Business people and Liberians, in general, can be assured that the joint security will remain robust to restore law and order to maintain the peace so they go can about their normal businesses and schedules on June 7 and afterward”, Police IG Sudue noted.
Police Inspector General Sudue called on Liberians to refrain from posting negative information on social media about the Country that has the propensity to cause conflicts and undermine the peace of Liberia.
“Let Liberians Stop sending fake news on social media about Liberia it is wrong and our Country depends on all to maintain peace”, he ended.