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Ceasefire Liberia: Liberian Citizen Journalists Counter Inaccurate Media Reporting

A Market in Monrovia. Image by Flicker user John Connell. Used under a Creative Commons License.

A Market in Monrovia. Image by Flicker user John Connell. Used under a Creative Commons License.

In our last update on Ceasefire Liberia we talked about the forced exoticism and inaccuracies of a recent series of web documentaries published on Vice Magazine. The project leader of the Rising Voices grantee Ceasefire Liberia Ruthie Ackerman discussed about the issue on February 2, 2010 which was later also published in Huffington post and drew much attention. She pointed out the importance of citizen journalism:

We all know the routine: the journalist, who is viewed as the authority (traditionally white and male), goes into a community and comes back with a story to share with the world. His version of events, experienced through his eyes only, is considered objective reporting for all to read and believe.

What makes (the best of) today's journalism different is that citizen journalists the world over have the opportunity to share their hyperlocal, interactive, personal portrayals of their communities, venturing into places that traditional journalists wouldn't have the time or money or access to cover.

She also writes how to tackle the misrepresentations of Liberia in the media:

I believe that the only solution to combating misrepresentations of Liberia is to counter Vice's series with stories written by Liberian journalists and media-makers. Because the only way to drown out the noise of the misinformed and mis-intentioned is by telling the truth — and leaving it up to the reader to decide which information to consume.

A screenshot from the Vice Video via Ceasefire Liberia.

A screenshot from the Vice Video via Ceasefire Liberia.

A subsequent article in Ceasefire Liberia looks at the debate in depth and reports:

Vice magazine has sent a letter of apology to the Liberian Government for its wrongful documentary. This was revealed during President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s press secretary’s weekly press conference earlier this week.

Nat Bayjay comments on the above post:

What makes me glad is the fact that he is being condemned mainly by many of the dozens of real Western journalists and the hundreds of ordinary Westerners that pour into our beloved country daily.

This surely is a victory for the Liberians and this was possible because of the citizen journalists who raised their voices.

Now let us look at some blog posts by the members of Ceasefire Liberia:

The newly restructured Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) observed its 53rd anniversary of Armed Forces recently:

The country’s army was considered as one of the country’s warring factions during its 14 years of civil war. It was therefore decided that it needed to be completely rebuilt.

Nathan Patio Charles reports that the Liberian Broadcasting Corporation has been accused of biased reporting which the state-owned broadcaster denied.

The blogger also reports quoting a visiting top executive of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Liberia will be considered for debt relief by the end of this year under the ‘Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative’ of IMF.

On other news Liberia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ambulai Johnson has resigned amidst allegations of corruption.

Ceasefire Liberia reports:

A human rights report released in Monrovia Wednesday speaks of significant gaps in human rights protection due to major capacity and resource constraints across the legal, judicial and corrections sectors in Liberia.

Nathan Patio Charles reported that police brutalized a reporter of PowerTV. He was arrested because he interfered into a matter between the police and the driver of a vehicle.

One of the many deplorable, makeshift bridges in Rivercess County

One of the many deplorable, makeshift bridges in Rivercess County

The lack of resources and infrastructures are evident from reports like this:

Thousands of rural dwellers in one of Liberia’s most remote and underdeveloped counties, Rivercess County, are in desperate need of roads and bridges and have appealed to the Central Government to attach serious priority to these needs.

MonroviaWellington Railey informs that a master plan for Monrovia city, which took two years to prepare, aims to improve the city by 2019.

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