As the number of COVID-19 cases increases in Liberia, the President of the Press Union of Liberia Charles Cuffy has warned all media executives to withdraw all reporters providing coverage for the regular COVID-19 updates at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town.
He said the manner and form in which key newsmakers who reporters covered regularly are being confirmed positive of the COVID-19 virus in Liberia, it is a cause of concern and speaks volume as such the media should be very careful in these critical times.
In an exclusive interview with KMTV on Thursday April 30, 2020 Mr. Cuffy stressed that there is no news worth dying for as such it is key for media people to remain safe while carryout their reportorial duties.
According to him his call is not intended to undermine Government’s fight against the COVID-19 crisis from the angle of information dissemination rather it is meant to caution the media to be very careful in their operations in the interest of the sector and the Country at large.
Commenting on the accreditation of media practitioners in the fight by government, the PUL boss said there is no need to give media people pass to do their job.
He said since the previous passes are being duplicated by others, it is now key for all media people to use their legal media institution’s identification cards to do their job easily void of intimidation or hindrances.
Moreover, he cautioned journalists not to go for any MICAT pass because it is not necessary.
According to him it is generally accepted globally that media individuals around the globe use their ID cards to do their job and not passes, this he noted should be practice as well in Liberia.
“This is not media, Government of Liberia war rather it is just a common thing that can be addressed without confrontation.
He claimed that the government’s decision through the Ministry of Information to provide passes is to have only their selected media institutions cover the crisis instead of the entire media sector, something he added is unacceptable.
However, Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon clarified that the introduction of the new passes with new security features are meant to among other thing do away with duplication which they have observed over the period.
Deputy Minister Fahngon speaking to journalists on Thursday April 30, 2020 said the government has no intention to limit the amount of coverage from the end of the media especially during this COVID-19 crisis rather to control and regulate things for the betterment of all.
In the midst of the current passes saga, the Ministry of Information is said to be processing the new passes and warned that the old passes will be expired as of Sunday evening.
The biggest question now is, if some journalists received the new passes and others failed to obtain it but chose to display their ID cards there-by following their leader (Charles Cuffy) order, what becomes of the enforcement by the joint security team.