Delaware, USA – The Liberia Broadcasting System’s (LBS) former celebrated news anchor, Kwame Clement says Liberian journalists in the United States operating under the banner, Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas, will become a force in Liberia if they remain united.
Mr. Clement, a US-based lawyer, said sponsoring university students who are interested in mass communications and the electoral process would project the relevance of ALJA in Liberia.
According to an ALJA press release, the former news anchor said, with improvement in media technology and availability in Liberia, the West African nation has seen growth in media institutions. He said these institutions are faced with many challenges, including the lack of training opportunities for promising journalists.
Clement also disclosed that ALJA would play a pivotal role in “Polishing raw talents” of young journalists in news writing and television production, as there are more newspapers and TV stations in the country now as compared to the past.
Clement encouraged the interim administration of ALJA to lead by example by involving members in affairs of the association. He noted that most organizations collapse because of the lack of transparency and multiplicity of goals.
He warned that it would serve the association well if the interim leadership employ transparency and focuses on a set goal at a time, instead of simultaneously undertaking projects.
Also making remarks at the occasion, former Presidential Press Secretary, Patrick Kugmeh, expressed his excitement about flying from Minnesota to Delaware to be part of this remarkable event. He pledged his support to make the association vibrant once again.
For her part, former LBS television personality, who now teaches communications and television production at the Morgan State University in Maryland, USA, Welma Mashinini Redd, praised the organizers of the meeting, and spoke of the need for every professional to get involved in how the country is run, emphasizing that ALJA is no exception.
Earlier in his opening statement, ALJA’s Acting Chairman, Moses Sandy, recounted challenges that led to the association’s dormancy. He said with the gathering of over 25 Liberian journalists from across the US, it was a signal that they were ready to move forward with a renewed vigor for a better ALJA. He praised members of the organizing team whose support he said, brought about a successful meeting of US-based Liberian journalists.
In a statement to ALJA, Abdullai Kamara, president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) said, “We respect you for getting over the misunderstanding that caused such setbacks for ALJA over the years, and look forward to more constructive dialogues and undertakings that would strengthen the relationship you gained through your professional collaboration.”
ALJA was founded in 1998 in Washington, DC in an effort to promote camaraderie among Liberian journalists in the Americas, and support press freedom and good governance in Liberia, however, the association crumbled in 2004 due to differences amongst its members.
ALJA has, meanwhile, elected former LBS Radio Producer, Volcano Shelton and the Monrovia based Inquirer Newspaper Melissa Chea as the association’s Acting Co-chairman and Treasurer respectively. Journalists Shelton and Chea were elected by attendees of the January 31, 2015, ALJA mass meeting.
During the meeting, Acting Chairman Sandy appointed Jackson Seton, former News Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper as the ALJA Coordinator for the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
In furtherance of the ALJA resuscitation process, a post crisis convention of ALJA members is expected to be held in October 2015 in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.