China, European Union flag ‘Ethical Issues’ in Liberian Media

As a body, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has ‘ethical issues’ hanging over it, according to comments from international observers recently.

An ‘issue’ for the organisation is the Union’s Headquarters construction project that started in 2007, but the purchased piece of land is still unoccupied 14 years later (2021).

During the Presidency of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Libyan Government of Muammed Ghadafi gave one hundred thousand United States Dollars to the Liberian journalists’ body.

Later, the PUL leadership purchased a piece of land located at 14th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia.

But the construction company hired to put up the Headquarters laid down working tools, a few months after commencement, on what it described as the leadership’s failure to clear the agreed-on initial service fee.

The PUL leader at the time, George Barpen, and each of his successors – Peter Quaqua, Kamara Abdullai Kamara (now deceased), and current president Charles B. Coffey, Jr – have not been able to erect the structure.

The space is being used as a ‘garden’ by some of the residents of 14th Street.

On the individual level, many PUL members carry some ‘ethical stains’ with their professional status (owners of media institutions or reporters), from their ‘unbalanced stories’ against government officials and prominent persons in the private sectors. Others have taken ‘Public Relations officer’ position for politicians or foreign business people whose actions are slowing or hampering the growth of Liberia in various sectors.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Laurent Delahousse, flagged one of the ‘ethical issues’ in the Liberian media during his first official media-related familiarization visit at the PUL’s current Headquarters on February 25, 2021.

Speaking indirectly about the issue, Mr. Delahousse told his hosts, the leadership team of the PUL, that “adherence to ethical standards in the practice of journalism in Liberia is important.”

The Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia, His Excellency Ren Yensheng (pictured), also added his voice during his remarks at the Press Union of Liberia’s 2021’s Annual Media Excellence Awards Ceremony, held on February 26, 2021—less than 30 hours after the EU Ambassador’s visit at the Union’s Headquarters.

“To gain credibility, the media must reflect the facts comprehensively, objectively, and impartially, avoid inaccurate reports and fake news… and promote fairness and justice,” stated the Ambassador in his speech, published by some Liberian newspapers including Heritage (March 3, 2021).

Since 2010, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has been taking Liberian journalists to China on a predominantly ethical-reporting Media Exchange Program for media practitioners drawn from across Africa. The Chinese Government has paused the travel due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

“In the future, we will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between China and the Liberian media organizations, and jointly promote the steady and long-term cooperation between China and Liberia,” added the Chinese Ambassador in the concluding paragraph of his speech.

The advice from the EU and Chinese Ambassadors echoes repeated calls at various media capacity-building Workshops organized by local and international media organizations, including the United Nations Development Project, but the ‘ethical issues’ still cast a shadow over the professionalism of many Liberia-based Liberian journalists.

“A complete media-related re-orientation is urgently needed for our culpable colleagues to come out of this ugly mode of media practices,” Frank Sainworla, a renowned radio journalist, high-in-demand media trainer, and Publisher of News Public Trust, suggested during an interview with



Reporter: Samuel G. Dweh

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