RAL, Partner Train Journalists in Extractive Sector Reporting

By Matalay Kollie, Bong County correspondent

GANTA-February 23, 2024: The Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) in collaboration with the Africa Development Management Associates on Friday, February 23, 2023, conducted a day-long regional symposium on extractive industry reporting for over fifty (50) journalists in Ganta, Nimba County.

The symposium was held under the theme “Promoting Responsible Journalism for Socio-economic Development” and brought together reporters from Montserrado, Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

The symposium aimed at enhancing the capacity of journalists reporting on the extractive sector; thereby providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively communicate the intricacies of the industry.

RAL’s President Willie Tokpah said the benefits of such seminars are multifold. “Firstly, it will empower journalists to report accurately and comprehensively on the sector, thereby fostering transparency and public understanding. Secondly, it will contribute to create a more informed public discourse, facilitating a constructive dialogue between industry stakeholders and the community,” explained Mr. Tokpah.

He said the RAL Ganta symposium will put a spotlight on ArcelorMittal Liberia operations, with presentations from the company’s top management.

“The impact of AML’s operations extends far beyond its economic contributions, positively influencing social development and community well-being in Liberia, especially in Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa. Thus, we believe it is important to increase public awareness of the company’s operations,” an RAL statement said.

Mr. Tokpah also used the medium to appeal to AML and partners to help secure an Office Space for the reporter-based in the region.

He believes if RAL is to actively run its activities, there is a need for the association to have an office space that will attract other entities to work with the association.

Moreover, the RAL’s President highlighted the creation of a database for the association to capture all reporters across the fifteen subdivisions of Liberia.

Adding , that if done, it would make it easier to track reporters’ information in the journalism profession of Liberia.

At the same time, the RAL’s President also appealed to the managements of mining companies operating in Liberia to grant reporters the opportunity to visit their mining sites and also organize an “Editor Forum” for News editors in Liberia to have wild experience on the sector.

According to Tokpah, if such opportunities are given to Reporters and News Editors, it will play a key role in widening their knowledge of the extractive reporting.

For his part, Nimba County Electoral District#2 Representative, Nyah Flomo Sr. called on participating journalists to serve as partners to the Extractive sector of Liberia by flagging truth information in the sector,instead of only focusing on reporting on ills within the sector.

He also encouraged journalists to be proactive in reporting truth about the sector in order to encourage the rule of law in Liberia, noting, that if reportage is exhibited by reporters, citizens of Liberia will be informed about issues arising from the resourceful sector.

The Nimba County lawmaker however, on behalf of his colleagues at the Honorable House of Representatives re-emphasized the Liberian Legislature’s commitment to continue working with the Extractive Sector of Liberia in order to benefit the livelihoods ordinary Liberians.

At the day-long event, participating journalists were lectured on understanding Liberia’s Extractive Sector, Gains, Challenges and Opportunities and Spotlight on AML’s Operation (Community & National Benefits, Phase Two Expansion).

The Reporters Association of Liberia is a body governing News Reporters in Liberia.

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