… NaFAA Director General Glassco urges journalists at PUL 58th anniversary
Liberian journalists have been cautioned to portray a positive image of their country through their reportage for the purpose of rebranding the damaged image of Liberia internationally as a means of attracting international investment opportunities.
The appeal from the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, Emma Metieh Glassco, came when she served as the keynote speaker for the Press Union of Liberia 58th anniversary in the historic city of Sanniquellie, Nimba County on September 30.
Glassco, challenged the Media to portray a positive image of the country through their publications to attract investment opportunities and avoid the many negative stories that are not investment friendly.
The media, according to Glassco, plays a pivotal role in the rebranding of any country through the contents it publishes, especially with the introduction of the internet or cyberspace, where “everything is now public and speaks to the nature of the country and could attract, discourage investors or visitors.”
“In such a case, everyone must be an ambassador and the content published by journalists depict the condition of the citizens and country,” she said. “It is about doing what is expedient. “It is incumbent upon Liberian journalists to erase the negative stories with current realities.”
“We, in this generation, must challenge ourselves to make the change. This is beyond politics; it is about patriotism, it is about rebranding a nation we call home, it is about attracting investment and tourists.”
She narrated that Liberia’s image was severely damaged during the years of civil strife and for many years, the findings of search engines and international media content portrayed images of the war, the display of child soldiers and all sorts of negative images.
All of those images are still haunting the nation up to present, nearly twenty years after the wars ended, she said.
“It is beyond politics, because when the image of Liberia is damaged by means of journalists’ publications on the government, it does not automatically go away, even when there is a new government.
She stressed that the negative effects of journalists’ publications in the past is a vice that Liberians will have to live with for a long time, like the scars they still have from the civil war. What the media put out there gives a picture of what is unfolding in Liberia, she also stated.
“It should be about seeing the glass half full and not half empty,” she said. Journalists should ensure that the content of their publications give a promising picture of their country. It will reflect on us as a people. As we say in photojournalism, a photo tells the whole story.”
Glassco has meanwhile called on journalists as they perform their professional duties to put their country first, above politics, personal interest and sensation.
Media partnership impact
Earlier, Glassco during her keynote address stated that NaFAA is receiving increasing awareness from the mass media as a result of what she termed as an ongoing partnership.
“We can safely report today and say we are reaping bountifully from our investment in these partnerships. No one here can disagree with me, that NaFAA is not a household name in every part of the Country, as well as on social media. It is all about marketing and our messages have resonated well. Thank you, our partners in progress”.
Glassco further revealed that with the “partnership” NaFAA entered into with media houses for airing/publishing of its news contents either in the form of announcements or press releases has created positive impact on the sector thus enabling more than 30 thousand local fisherfolks and over 300 thousand direct and indirect beneficiaries of the sector across the coastline on development programs, new policies including our new fishing license fees structure.
She emphasized that with the media partnership, NaFAA coastal dwellers and fisherfolks are well informed of the Cooperative Management program as well as programs for the motor engines distribution.
Moreover, Glassco disclosed that through the partnership, NaFAA has empowered its fishmongers and fish traders with knowledge on the FAO new fish drying technology, and attracted funding to grow their business.
“You have done this so much more. Even as we congratulate you on your anniversary, we are also celebrating our success with you as our integral partner.”
According to Glassco, with support from the media, NaFAA has informed the public and the international community about all of its development initiatives with international partners, operating an open fisheries governance system that has attracted the admiration of most of its international partners thus committing more financial support to the Liberian Fisheries sector.
At the same time, Glassco who has immensely contributed to the overall transformation within the Liberian fisheries sector called on the public and private sectors to see the mass media as the prime asset in any successful investment and national development programs.
“It is the future and a more efficient way of improving service delivery and expanding business territories. Let us learn to work Smart and not hard. There cannot be a success in public sector development without the help of the mass media.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, before I take my seat, let me express to the Liberian media, on behalf of me and my team at NaFAA our heartfelt gratitude for the level of support it has provided the fisheries entity. Your coverage of our programs, the airing of our press releases, jingles, announcements and even providing the platform on your talk shows, have gone a long way in remodeling and developing the Fisheries sector in Liberia”.
“Mr. President, I felt very honored to be selected to serve as your keynote speaker for this historic occasion, convening here in Ganta, Nimba. On behalf of my Team at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, my family and I, we say thank you for the honor.”
Commenting on the success of the Press Union of Liberia, Glassco noted that over the 58th years, the PUL has demonstrated to be a reliable partner in the advocacy and protection for the right of freedom of speech.
This she said prompted the CDC led Government, to have provided the space and support to ensure that this alienable right is protected. For instance, she stressed that today’s journalists have the Kamara Adbullah Kamara Law, the Freedom of information Law and the Table Mountain Declaration as major achievements for free speech.
She added that, there can be no fostering of democracy without free speech and the support of the mass media and there must always be a space for the exchange of ideas, where the citizens can continue to talk and share their ideas.
Glassco said members of the PUL have all been very instrumental in the growth of Liberia’s democracy and the sustainability of the country Peace.
“If there should be anything you celebrate, this must be the foremost achievement, sustaining our Peace and democracy. Congratulations to all the men and women of the pen!”
NaFAA Introduces Fisheries Reporter Award
In another development, Liberian journalists annually received awards from the Press Union of Liberia for specialized reporting. The specialized awards have created a huge competition among journalists thus encouraging many others to persevere in their quest to be among the future achievers.
To the surprise of Liberian journalists Glassco announced during the press Union of Liberia 58th anniversary held in Sanniquellie City Nimba County that the fisheries Authority was introducing a Fisheries Reporter of the year award.
“Mr. President, in furtherance of our partnership to the media, we are proposing the introduction of a Fisheries Reporter of the Year Award, as part of the PUL Annual Award program. NaFAA will work with the PUL to develop the technical details for this award and will provide support for the award”.
Also in another development, Glassco has reiterated the need for Liberian students to take advantage of the fisheries science degree program at the University of Liberia by enrolling to obtain a degree in fisheries science.
“NaFAA in partnership with the University of Liberia and with support from the World Bank will be establishing a Fisheries Department at the University of Liberia”.
The Liberian Fisheries Expert disclosed that the fisheries science degree program will also host a Regional Center for Excellence in Fisheries.
“Therefore, I am using this platform to encourage young Liberians to enroll into the programs and take advantage of the career opportunities in this emerging economic sector”.
She said, “The current generation of fisheries scientists are here today, but tomorrow there is a need for the next generation to step up and continue from the gains. They need to start getting prepare Now”
Meanwhile, at the onset of her keynote address Glassco paid special tribute to fallen journalist Philip Wesseh whose impact in the Liberian landscape will never go unnoticed.
“Let me start by reflecting on the passing of one of Liberia’s veteran journalists, an experienced media professional, Mr. Philip Wisseh, commonly known as Gina. He was a mentor and a role model to most of you here today. His contribution to the Liberian media will forever be remembered. I am a witness to his high degree of professionalism. I was highlighted in his Inquirer Newspaper twice as the Director General of the Year, without even meeting him. He only followed our work and recognized it. Liberia has indeed lost a great son!”