Minister Tonpo said while recognizing the independence of newspapers and publishers to report freely on activities of government, there's a dire need for continuous collaboration and cooperation between the media and government. He said as Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, he would ensure that the Ministry of Information is made accessible providing clarity on issues of public concern to journalists. On behalf of Information Minister Legerhood Rennie, he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to working with the media to mitigate some of the challenges faced by journalists and media institutions in the country.
In response, PAL President, Othello Garblah, expressed thanks and appreciation for the visit by Deputy Information Minister Tonpo. PAL President said of major concern and worry to the media industry is the continuous use of the Executive Mansion Website as the main forum for the placement of advertisement by none governmental organizations and foreign missions in Liberia. Mr. Garblah said such “wanton misuse” of the Executive Mansion Website as the sole forum for also public service announcements, Expressions of Interest and Job Vacancies are seriously undermining the revenue generation capacity of newspapers and rendering media institutions incapable of meeting the increasingly high cost of production.
He also spoke of the continuous hike in the prices of printing materials including newsprint and government protracted indebtedness and delays in payment of services rendered by media institutions. He lamented that these long-running issues are posing serious challenges to the viability of media institutions in the country, thereby making them prone to dependent on political patronage for survival.