FEJAL IS A CAPACITY BUILDING ASSOCIATION NOT A NEWS AGENCY – LIBERIA’S S. JOHNSON SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Source: www.africanakua.com | Forgbe Kloh, Liberian Correspondent| Tuesday April, 30.

The Coordinator of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FEJAL), Siatta Scot Johnson says the auxiliary group of the Press Union of Liberia is not a media outlet and has no influence over the reportage of female Journalists.

Siatta Scot Johnson said the association is into capacity building, and training for young female journalists further clarifying that she is neithera NewsEditor nor News Director at any Media House.

The female Media Executive’s statements have come as a reactionto the massive condemnation of FEJALand her acceptance of President George Weah’s gift of land, building (to be used as FEJAL Headquarters)and a van last Saturday.A section of the media and some civil society organizations in Liberia are asking her to return the gifts to the president emphasizing that her acceptance of the gifts would compromise FEJAL’s professional and ethical work.

But Madam Johnson further clarified that the giftsfrom President Weah should not be seen as a censorship to anyone’s story henceher call on female journalists to continue to be professional and ethical.

She expressed frustration about her fellow female journalists’disapproval of the leadership’s acceptance of the gifts knowing fully well, what they went through.

According to Madam Johnson, the leadership did not ask the President to construct the headquarters for the association but rather requested for a piece of land.President Weah, before becoming president gave them the land, which members of the association initially did not have problems with.

Again, she recalled that when she took over as FEJAL Co-ordinator, former government officials in the person of former Vice President Joseph Boakia, former Monrovia Mayor Mary Broh and others helped with office materials for their office and members did not complain about that either.

She added it is sad to know that her colleagues do not appreciate the effort of the leadership. However, the Communications and Outreach Specialist, Madam Johnson, emphasized that the land which the headquarters is situated on now belongs to FEJAL and is no longer President Weah’s property adding that the land indeed was placed in the association’s name with the revision from a lawyer.

Meanwhile the FEJAL Coordinator has disclosed plans to create a production studio at the headquarters where female journalists would be able to practice; there would also be a construction of Conference Hall where money will be generated for the Association.

BACKGROUND

Over the Weekend, President George Weah at a fund-raising rally presented to the Female Journalists a News Headquarters; something which came as a surprise to many at the occasion. Since the president gift to the female Journalists, there have been huge criticisms rising from citizens and fellow media practitioners that female journalists will be compromised and would no longer be able to report critical stories concerning President George Weah.

On the other hand, there are scores of female Journalists that are calling for the relocation of the Headquarters further noting that the location of the headquarters is not conducive for the reportage of female reporters.  

The Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FEJA) was founded in 1998 as an auxiliary of the Press Union of Liberia. FEJAL aims to promote press freedom, protect the rights of female journalists as well as encourage more women to venture into the media spectrum.

SiattaScott Johnson worked with Beyond Media Education in Chicago, Illinois, assisting the organization in its efforts to provide media arts education to populations traditionally underrepresented in the mass media.

Upon returning to Liberia, Scott Johnson worked on building the media literacy of Liberian Youth with the goal of increasing youth voices in the media and fostering greater youth civic participation in society.At FEJAL, she leads trainings and workshops on how to address gender issues using media platforms.

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