Gongloe Recommends Media Commission to License Journalists

first_imgThe constitutional and human rights lawyer, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, has recommended that if journalists should be licensed, the National Legislature must create an independent media commission to do so.Cllr. Gongloe’s comment comes in the wake of decision government has made to license journalists beginning  January next year before they can practice in Liberia.This is an entirely new development in Liberia.  Not even during the Tubman administration, on which was often hard on the press, did the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs (now Ministry) or any other government entity attempt to license journalists.The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) that is an advocacy umbrella for journalists has reacted to this decision and described it as an attempt to curtail freedom of speech and of the press.Counselor Gongloe admitted that with the idea of licensing journalists is not wrong.  He mentioned lawyers and medical doctors and nurses as among professionals who are licensed before they can practice.He said it existed as a law in Liberia that the Ministry of Information regulated the media, but a memorandum of understanding was reached during the interim administration of Dr. Amos Sawyer and that of convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor, that the Press Union of Liberia polices its members.Cllr. Gongloe said the PUL had not fulfilled that role, neither had the Union come down hard on its members who behave in an unprofessional matter. So while agreeing that the policy needs to be maintained, that is not the role of government; rather it is the National Legislature who should create a independent  media commission to regulate the media.Taking into account the current Ebola crisis in the midst of which the President is seeking more powers, the move by the Information Ministry to license journalists  creates suspicion, the counselor averred.“The timing for this regulation is wrong,” he declared, adding, “Whether the government has a good intent for licensing journalists in order to promote excellence in Journalism, the intent will not be felt now considering the prevailing situation.”The closure of National Chronicle newspaper during the current state of emergency makes the licensing of journalists even more suspect, Cllr. Gonglore said.He said the government of President Ellen Johnson Sireleaf, since her ascendancy, has been encouraging press freedom, and has gone as far as signing the Table Mountain Declaration.The government needs not to reverse this policy now, but should wait and find an  appropriate time after the Ebola state of emergency to ask the Legislature to create a media commission, similar to the Independent National Human Rights Commission.Cllr. Gongloe noted that while freedom of press is good for an open society, it also has its bad side that makes it necessary for regulations to be in place.Making reference to Rwanda, he said prior to the 1994 genocide there was free press that propagated hate messages which caused millions of people of one group to be killed.“Licensing journalists is not a violation if there is a law that calls for that.  One needs to be licensed before practicing Journalism as Law is.  The only problem is the timing, and if government can do it without the existing MOU, the Legislature, after the state of emergency, must create a media commission that will carry on such regulations,” the counselor maintained.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MORTGAGE CRISIS: FOUR HOMES BEING REPOSSESSED EVERY SINGLE DAY

first_imgSinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said that almost 4 family homes are being repossessed or surrendered each day. New figures from the Central Bank show that 351 homes were repossessed or surrendered in the first quarter of 2015.Deputy Doherty also expressed concern that the banks are relying more and more on split mortgages and arrears capitalisation when they do agree restructurings. Deputy Doherty said, “These figures never fail to shock. Almost 4 family homes a day are now being lost to the banks.“The government has promised action but as these figures show for many it is far too late. There are a further 37,933 accounts in arrears of over 720 days and this figure keeps growing.“The figures published today also show that when the banks do agree a restructuring, they are relying more and more an arrears capitalisation and split mortgages.“These have been criticised as being among the least sustainable and equitable ways of dealing with mortgage arrears. In both cases, there is a large element of kicking the can down the road. “Of course, the headline reduction in arrears cases is good news but when we delve a bit deeper it is clear that what is actually happening is that four families a day are losing their home and those that are being offered a deal are facing a delayed debt as they grow older or simply having their arrears accounted for as capital.“Personal Insolvency Practitioners have contacted me to show how open to abuse some of these solutions are.“For example, I have seen cases where a family are expected to live on the Insolvency Services Reasonable Living Expenses indefinitely before facing having to pay off the warehoused element of their mortgages when they retire. In many cases, this will mean losing their home.“For four years, Fine Gael and Labour have twiddled their thumbs and once again we have the sad figures to prove it.”MORTGAGE CRISIS: FOUR HOMES BEING REPOSSESSED EVERY SINGLE DAY was last modified: June 4th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:newsPoliticslast_img read more