MEMO TO PUBLISHERS: BLACK OUT GOL, FINANCE MINISTRY IN PARTICULAR
THE PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION of Liberia, in a press statement this week says it is ready for business while frowning on government ministries and agencies for continued delays in settling the debts owed newspapers in Liberia.
THE NEWS COMES amid a multitude of unfulfilled promises to pay newspapers and radio stations for advertisements carried on behalf of government agencies.
WHILE WE APPLAUD the publishers’ latest stand, we fear that the publishers’ ranting will go nowhere and will not prompt the government of Liberia, especially the ministry of finance to settle arrears owed for advertisement.
WHAT IS EVEN more frustrating is the fact that the Finance Ministry has repeatedly ignored pleas from media institution and the president to pay arrears owed to newspapers and radio stations.
EVEN MORE TROUBLING is the fact that the Finance Ministry has created a series of bottlenecks which has made it harder for media institutions to collect payments from governments.
IN MANY INSTANCES, newspapers have complained that even after providing the Finance Ministry with the necessary tax documents and requirements, the ministry has failed to pay up government bills.
IT IS LAUDABLE that the publishers association has set up an Advisory Committee that will guide its current leadership in leading the organization to a nobler destination. But we caution the body to understand that it is sometimes necessary to approach desperate situations with drastic action.
IN THE CASE of the ongoing dilemma of newspapers and radio stations unable to collect funds owed from government, publishers must take a united stand in boycotting coverage of government activities on both radio, newspapers and television in bid to bring attention to the plight of media institutions.
THIS AFFAIR has played out far too long with the President, on numerous occasions making public pronouncements about how ‘she has instructed’ the Finance Ministry to pay bills owed to media institutions.
THE FACT of the matter is, government has failed to understand that media is an expensive business , especially in today’s rapidly change world.
MEDIA CAN only thrive on funding and advertising fees. If the government intends to use the media to disseminate its messages, then it must be prepared to pay up.
OTHERWISE, PUBLISHERS must make a united decision to demand payments prior to publication or airing of government advertisement.
THE TRUTH of the matter is they need the media to get the message out. Thus, we must not sell ourselves short and continue to play the cat-and-mouse game which seemingly is heading nowhere.
IF THE GOVERNMENT does not understand the plight of the media and is not willing to press for its agencies and ministries to pay for services rendered by the media, then we all must boycott and take a united stand, if we are to ever put this matter to rest.
WHILE IT IS TRUE that Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War, in this case, the government appears to be testing our patience and we cannot and must not allow our businesses to decline at the expense of a delinquent government unwilling to pay its bills to thriving media institutions.