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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

PUL URGES UNDP TO CEASE SUPPORT FOR ILLEGAL REVIEW OF ELECTION GUIDE FOR JOURNALISTS

Date:

MONROVIA – The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) strongly appeals to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP Liberia Office) to halt its backing of the unauthorized review and proposed validation of the Election Guide for Journalists in Liberia.

In a statement released during the weekend in Monrovia, the PUL expressed its disappointment with the collaboration between the National Election Commission (NEC), UNDP, and Internews as they engaged with the Union’s auxiliaries to review the Election Guide, thereby disregarding the legitimate leadership of the Press Union of Liberia.

To do business with auxiliaries of the Union and intentionally discount the parent body of journalists in the country amounts to the adoption of an exclusionary policy intended to kill the Union at the request of Julius K. Kanubah and his defeated campaign, the PUL asserts.

Currently, the PUL is under the leadership of Daniel Nyakonah, Jr., Acting President, and Akoi M. Baysah, Jr., Secretary General. This leadership assumed responsibility after Charles B. Coffey, Jr., and Musa MB Kenneh resigned as President and Secretary General, respectively, after holding on at the helm following a legal dispute concerning the November 2022 election. The case, filed by Julius K. Kanubah and his campaign, is currently under review by the full bench of the Supreme Court.

During a recent membership meeting, the Press Union of Liberia endorsed the current leadership and authorized them to steer the affairs of the Union until a verdict is reached in the ongoing election impasse. The present PUL leadership is duly constituted and is the forerunner of all media development initiatives in Liberia.

The attempt to delegate the responsibility of overseeing the validation of the Election Guide for Journalists in Liberia to the Association of Community Radios (ALICOR), the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), the Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL), and the Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) is an unwarranted usurpation of the Press Union of Liberia’s authority. The Union emphasizes that this task falls exclusively within the purview of the PUL, which is entrusted with safeguarding journalists’ interests during and after elections.

The Union contends that the involvement of the UNDP, Internews, and the National Elections Commission constitutes meddling in the internal affairs of the Press Union of Liberia.

The Press Union of Liberia urges the UNDP Liberia Office to respect its legitimate leadership and cease all support for the unauthorized review and proposed validation of the Election Guide for Journalists. The PUL remains committed to its vital role in fostering press freedom, advocating for the rights of journalists, and ensuring the integrity of elections in Liberia.

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