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LACC Restores Partnership With Media

By Precious D. Freeman
The Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) has held a meeting with members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) aimed at restoring its relationship with the Liberian media after returning to stability.
In a press conference yesterday at the head offices of the LACC, the acting Chairperson, Kanio Bai Gbala, said the meeting was intended to mend whatever feeling the media harboured about officials at that integrity institution when sometime ago, the relationship amongst them got soar along the way and needed to be have been corrected.
Mr. Gbala acknowledged it is important to repair relationships as new ones are forged; even if there were lots of breaks and pauses in it, it is always better to re-visit in order to seek improvements because to rebrand and renew things, take a whole lot of efforts.
According to him, there is always this belief that in as much as the LACC should have thieves and should be looked at with respect it should also be a place where people of the press are free to engage.
He added that one of the things that the LACC has recognized over the couple of months when it was experiencing its internal wrangling, relationship with the media became sour while some of the engagements yielded no fruits.
“This whole idea of mending the relationship with journalists through the umbrella institution; that is the Press Union is to begin to lay out some of the plans that we have for the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission and an opportunity to see how we can begin to build a new relationship,” the acting chair expressed.
“While starting this new relationship it’s also important to recognize some numbers of things which include starting new friendship with the media, because the media transmits information and they are involved in discovering information, involved in the analysis of information and the sharing of information,” he said.
The LACC Chairperson recognized the critical role the press represents noting that everything the Commission does is driven by the credibility of information which to them is very important to today’s engagement.
“We are also part of the watch dog role that the Press Union has, even though ours has a legal mandate to pursue certain things and to act certain ways to stop corruption; most times, the power of the press can even be more powerful than the legal rights to intervene,” he stated.
Mr. Gbala then outlined some of the things being planned to include engaging the leadership of the Union, which is part of the whole strategy of its rebranding process because according to him, the institution runs on confidence primarily and it is important for partners and people that they work with to begin to see it as an open institution.
“We have been consulting very wisely and have gotten the opportunity to meet with the Chinese Ambassador who welcomed our effort and promised to engage; we also met the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations who also promised to engage; we have held consultative meetings with the Civil Society Council and also have the opportunity to meet key organizations to help in fighting corruption among others,” he explained.
He mentioned that they have been able to re-engage with their partners because an entity like LACC does not necessarily rely on government’s budget even though government’s support is an indication of how serious it takes for us to fight against corruption.
Meanwhile he said they have been able to engage some of the third parties which include World Bank, IMF, development banks and others, adding,” The African Development Bank has given some supports of which we will reach out to the press to share on some of the areas to work on.”
The president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Charles Coffey accepted their proposal of re-uniting and working together and advised them to show the full implementation of their mandate.
“Once we engage in trustworthy and quality production of news product that will reach out to the public that will give a clearer picture of the working condition of the LACC, we will embrace the concept,” he said.

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