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  • Writer's pictureAmara Kamara

The role of the media in Liberian politics. The media plays an important role in to the public

The media is an essential component of democratic governance, as it plays a crucial role in providing information to citizens and holding leaders accountable. In Liberia, the media is a vital source of information for citizens, particularly in rural areas where access to information is limited. However, the media in Liberia is often underfunded and understaffed, and it faces significant challenges in its efforts to report on political issues accurately and impartially.

One of the major challenges facing the media in Liberia is political interference. Journalists who are critical of the government or political parties are often subject to harassment, intimidation, and violence. This has a chilling effect on the media's ability to hold the government accountable and report on important issues.

In addition, the media in Liberia is often underfunded and understaffed. Many media organizations struggle to survive financially, and journalists are often paid low salaries. This can make it difficult for media organizations to invest in high-quality reporting and investigative journalism.

Despite these challenges, the media in Liberia has played an important role in promoting transparency and accountability in the country's political system. For example, in 2019, a group of Liberian journalists uncovered a major corruption scandal involving the mismanagement of funds intended to combat the Ebola virus. This reporting led to the dismissal of several government officials and the prosecution of those involved in the corruption

There have been some positive developments in recent years. The government has taken steps to strengthen the legal framework for media freedom, and there has been an increase in the number of media outlets and journalists operating in the country. The Liberian media landscape includes both state-owned and private media outlets, including newspapers, radio stations, and television stations.

However, funding remains a significant challenge for the Liberian media. Many media outlets struggle to generate revenue, and they rely heavily on donor funding to support their operations. This dependence on external funding can create a perception of bias, as media outlets may feel pressure to report favorably on their donors or to avoid reporting on sensitive issues that could lead to a loss of funding.

According to data from the World Bank, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions in Liberia increased from 10 per 100 people in 2005 to 76.9 per 100 people in 2020. This suggests that access to information through mobile technology is increasing in Liberia. However, the internet penetration rate is still low, with only 9.3% of the population using the internet in 2021, according to DataReportal.

In 2019, Liberia was ranked 93rd out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. This ranking reflects the challenges facing the media in Liberia, but also highlights the potential for improvement. With greater support and investment, the Liberian media could play a more significant role in promoting democratic governance and holding leaders accountable.

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