Medco Energi to offer Rp 1.5t in bonds to refinance debt

first_img“The public offering period for the bonds will run from Feb. 12 to 13 and will be listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange [IDX] on Feb. 19,” the company said in an announcement posted on the IDX website on Friday.The proceeds of the bond issuance will be used to refinance some of its debt owed to state-owned Bank Mandiri, which will be due on Dec. 21, 2021.The company also issued $650 million worth of US dollar-denominated bonds through its subsidiary, Singapore-based Medco Bell Pte Ltd, on Jan. 16 on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX).The bonds, scheduled to be due on Jan. 30, 2027, offered a 6.38-percent annual coupon. Medco Bell will transfer the proceeds of the bonds to Medco Energi to be used to refinance its previously issued bonds that will be due in 2021 and 2022.The company received early commitments from several Singapore-based financial institutions for the bonds, such as DBS Bank Ltd, Mandiri Securities Pte Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited, Morgan Stanley Asia (Singapore) Pte and Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited, as well as Hong Kong-based Societe Generale.Topics : Privately-owned oil and gas company PT Medco Energi Internasional is set to offer rupiah-denominated debt papers following a recent global bonds issuance in a bid to refinance its debts that are due in the next two years.The company will issue Rp 1.5 trillion (US$ 110.15 million) in bonds in its third round of shelf-registration bonds.The rupiah-denominated bonds are set to be offered in two series, namely series A, which amounts to Rp 908.7 billion with a coupon of 8.9 percent per year that will be due in three years, and series B, worth Rp 476.15 billion with an annual coupon of 9.3 percent and a tenure of five years.last_img read more

Coronavirus epidemic ‘far from over’ in Asia – WHO official

first_imgThe WHO does not expect any country to be safe, as the coronavirus will eventually get everywhere, said WHO technical adviser Matthew Griffith.”Whereas countries and areas in this region have shown how to flatten the curve, outbreaks continue to pop up in new places and importation remains a concern,” Griffith said at the briefing, citing cases in Singapore and South Korea from people who travelled abroad.The focus of the epidemic is now on Europe, but that will likely shift to other regions, Griffith said. “Let me be clear. The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific. This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” Kasai told a virtual media briefing.”We need every country to keep preparing for large-scale community transmission.”Countries with limited resources are a priority, such as Pacific Island nations, he said, as they have to ship samples to other countries for diagnoses, and transportation restrictions are making that more difficult.Kasai warned that for countries that are seeing a tapering off of cases, they should not let down their guard, or the virus may come surging back. The coronavirus epidemic is “far from over” in the Asia-Pacific region, and current measures to curb the spread of the virus are buying time for countries to prepare for large-scale community transmissions, a WHO official said on Tuesday.Even with all the measures, the risk of transmission in the region will not go away as long as the pandemic continues, said Takeshi Kasai, Regional Director for the Western Pacific at the World Health Organization (WHO).The new coronavirus first surfaced in central China in late 2019. Infections have now exceeded 770,000 cases worldwide, with the United States, Italy and Spain overtaking mainland China in confirmed cases.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s COVID-19 budget swells but still not enough, observers say

first_imgIndonesia’s 2020 budget deficit will widen further to accommodate a larger stimulus package, but economists and business representatives say it will still not be enough to prevent the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia research director Piter Abdullah said the government’s stimulus was “far from ideal” to counter the virus’ blow.Read also: Indonesia unveils bigger stimulus worth $47.6 billion to fight coronavirus impacts “The country needs bigger health care budget to manage the outbreak […] If we are not ready, then there is a possibility of a second wave of the virus crisis,” Piter said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the proposed budget for social protection is too small amid the threat of rising poverty.”Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati announced on June 3 she expected the budget deficit to swell to 6.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), an increase from earlier estimates of 6.27 percent in May and 5.01 percent at the end of March.The state budget to fight COVID-19 is now Rp 677.2 trillion (US$48 billion), higher than the Rp 641.17 trillion allocation in May and the Rp 405.1 trillion initial allocation.This was the third alteration to the state budget in just over two months. The rapid changes underscore the ferocity with which the virus has torn through the economy. “We are hoping that this stimulus will keep our economic growth above zero percent,” Sri Mulyani said during the latest budget announcement on June 3. The government expects Indonesia’s GDP to grow by 2.3 percent this year under the baseline scenario or contract by 0.4 percent under the worst-case scenario.“Demand for stimulus is increasing even after the latest package,” Bank Danamon economist Wisnu Wardana said. “The government must now focus its resources on making the spending more productive and cutting unnecessary spending.”Read also: Indonesia’s economy may shrink 3.5% if PSBB last for 4 months: World BankMeanwhile, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) called on the government to boost its budget to fight the pandemic.According to Kadin chairwoman Shinta Kamdani, the government will need Rp 400 trillion for health care, Rp 600 trillion for social safety net programs and Rp 600 trillion for economic recovery.Meanwhile, World Bank senior economist Ralph van Doorn has called on the government to take steps to maintain market confidence as debt mounts during the outbreak.“The government must [provide assurances about its] fiscal strategy to raise revenue back to at least the 2018 level to flatten the debt curve,” said van Doorn.It should unwind “exceptional measures” taken to battle the pandemic after the virus subsides, including by reinstating the deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP and ending Bank Indonesia’s partial financing of the deficit, he added.Indonesia’s debt-to-GDP ratio will rise to 37 percent this year from 29.8 percent at the end of last year, van Doorn predicted.The government now expects the total state budget in 2020 to be 2.74 quadrillion. State revenue is expected to be Rp 1.69 quadrillion, leaving a budget deficit of about Rp 1.05 quadrillion. Debt financing is expected to swell to Rp 1.22 quadrillion this year to cover the widening budget deficit and to pay for the government’s investments, which will be covered mostly by the issuance of bonds.“We will treat the widening budget deficit carefully in terms of sustainability and financing,” Sri Mulyani added.The new budget aims to strengthen the health care system, direct more spending toward social protection to boost consumption and provide incentives to rescue Indonesian businesses from bankruptcy and workers from layoffs.The government will spend Rp 87.55 trillion in the health care sector, Rp 203.9 trillion to strengthen social safety net programs and Rp 123.46 trillion to provide incentives for micro, small and medium businesses, according to the new budget.About Rp 120.6 trillion will be allocated for tax incentives for larger entities, and Rp 97.11 trillion has been designated to support ministries and regional administrations. Rp 44.57 trillion will be used to provide a stimulus for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and labor-intensive businesses.Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 budget changes again: What we know so far The government remains hopeful that the economy will not shrink sharply in the second quarter and will begin to recover in the subsequent quarters, said Finance Ministry Fiscal Policy Agency head Febrio Kacaribu on June 4.“There is a possibility of a severe economic crisis and recession. We are currently revising the state budget to ensure that negative growth does not happen,” Febrio told reporters.Indonesia’s economy grew 2.97 percent in the first quarter, the weakest since 2001, as household spending and investment growth slowed in response to the outbreak.The World Bank now expects zero percent growth for Indonesia if large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) last for two months amid a severe global economic slowdown and falling commodity prices. Under the organization’s worst-case scenario, which allows for four months of PSBB, Indonesia’s economy may shrink 3.5 percent.The government estimates that 1.8 million to 4.8 million people may fall into poverty this year, while 3 to 5.2 million may lose their jobs because of the severe economic impact of the pandemic.Topics :last_img read more

Brittney Sykes’ 31 points lead Syracuse women’s basketball to 82-72 victory at No. 19 Virginia Tech

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Brittney Sykes matched a career-high 31 points, Alexis Peterson added 22 and Briana Day became the first-ever SU player to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds Sunday afternoon in Syracuse’s 82-72 victory at No. 19 Virginia Tech.SU has now won six of its last eight games and two straight against Top 20 teams. Sunday’s win also marks SU’s fourth against a nationally ranked opponent this season, setting a program regular-season record.“They just really played gutsy,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “When you win games on the road, that’s about grinding and playing hard.”The Orange entered Sunday having lost four of its last five away from the Carrier Dome. It had struggled against conference opponents, getting outscored to Florida State, Louisville and Georgia Tech by a combined 43 points. Sunday in Blacksburg, Virginia, SU scored 82 points a week after routing then-No. 14 Miami, 81-48 at home.Peterson and Sykes, the nation’s top-scoring backcourt, combined for 33 of SU’s 49 points in the first half. Sykes finished with 31 points on three 3-pointers and 12-of-17 shooting from the field. She chipped in three steals.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“She was just aggressive in attacking,” Hillsman said. “She played downhill, she played at the rim.”Peterson shot only 6-of-18 and committed seven turnovers, but dished out 11 assists and scored 22 points. Day, Syracuse’s senior center, scored 21 points, blocked four shots and grabbed 11 rebounds to become the program’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,005 career boards. For the third time this year Sykes, Peterson and Day each had at least 20 points.“If she stays in and plays her game, we’re going to be OK,” Hillsman said. “That was the biggest thing in the game: Keeping her on the floor.”The Orange shot 7-for-16 from 3-point range, a 43.8 percent clip, and hit 15-of-17 free-throw attempts. The Hokies trailed by 16 at the half and pulled within six at the 2:46 mark before Syracuse finished the game on an 11-2 run to seal the victory.Syracuse looks to continue its 16-game home winning streak when it returns home Thursday for a matchup with Pittsburgh (12-9, 3-5) at 7 p.m. Comments Published on January 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

DeAndre Jordan’s double-double helps Clippers beat Portland

first_imgPORTLAND, Ore. — Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 18 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Portland 100-94 on Wednesday night.Crawford scored the go-ahead basket on a 3-pointer with 3:55 remaining as the Clippers (26-13) came back from a six-point deficit.It was Los Angeles’ second win over Portland (30-9) this season and ended the Trail Blazers’ four-game winning streak.Chris Paul had 23 points and 10 assists and Blake Griffin scored 18 points for the Clippers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 37 points and 12 rebounds for Portland. Aldridge, who missed his season high by two points, went 14 of 28 from the floor.Damian Lillard had 15 points, while Chris Kaman had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Meyers Leonard, 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.After Crawford’s 3-pointer gave the Clippers the lead, they pulled away by making six free throws during the final 1:16. Paul went 10 of 10 at the line during the fourth.The Clippers led 27-21 after the first quarter, and held off Portland through halftime as they rode Crawford’s hot hand. He hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points during second quarter to give Los Angeles a 50-49 halftime lead.Portland’s first-half offense went through Aldridge, who hit 10 of 16 shots and scored 22 points. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img The game remained tight throughout the third quarter, though the Clippers never trailed. Los Angeles led by as many as seven points, but Portland eventually wiped out the deficit, as Leonard hit two free throws with 1:26 remaining to tie the score at 72. Aldridge scored 13 points during the third quarter.Lillard triggered a Portland surge early in the fourth, as his 3-pointer gave the Blazers an 85-79 lead. Los Angeles quickly responded, going on a 10-3 run to take an 89-88 lead with 4:32 remaining on two free throws by Paul.last_img read more

Clayton Kershaw climbs next step in comeback

first_imgCINCINNATI >> They were probably not the 22 most important pitches of the Dodgers’ season — but that’s only because there are more significant steps ahead in Clayton Kershaw’s recovery.But Kershaw did throw off a mound Saturday, his first time on a mound since July 16 when his back pain flared up following a simulated game at Dodger Stadium. He completed his throwing session just before a storm dropped heavy rain on Cincinnati, leaving him to do his conditioning work on the stadium steps in a steady rain.“It went good. Some pitching stuff to work on but physically I felt good,” Kershaw said, keeping his comments brief after the workout.Kershaw would not say how significant the step was in his mind. “I felt good. I don’t know,” he said. “Until you face hitters, you don’t really know for sure. But I feel 100 percent right now so that’s a good sign.”The Dodgers clearly thought it was significant. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bench coach Bob Geren all watched Kershaw’s throwing session first hand.“I thought it was successful,” Roberts said. “With my own eyes, I thought the intensity was there. Very productive.”Kershaw is expected to throw a longer bullpen session (approximately 40 pitches) on Tuesday in Los Angeles. They are keeping the rest of the plan “under wraps,” as Kershaw put it Friday.Giants matchups The Dodgers have set their rotation through next week’s series against the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles.Left-hander Scott Kazmir will start on regular rest Monday in Cincinnati, allowing the Dodgers to push right-hander Kenta Maeda back to Tuesday in the series opener against the Giants.Maeda will be working on six days’ rest. The Dodgers have made a point of giving Maeda extra rest whenever possible and it has paid off. When pitching on four days’ rest, he is 4-5 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a .237 opponent’s batting average. On extended rest, he is 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a .208 opponents’ batting average.“From my experience with Japanese players, there’s more than just the innings that he has to endure,” Roberts said. “The rest is different from Japan baseball (where pitchers pitch roughly once a week) to here. But there are also other things of every day life that he has to adjust to. Getting comfortable with the ballpark, his family finding places to eat, a grocery store — all that stuff plays into wearing on your mind. It’s a lot. I think it’s not only a transition in baseball. There’s other variables that Kenta has handled very well.“So with that, whenever we feel that we can give him an extra day or two to get his mind right, his body I think it proves a benefit.”Left-hander Rich Hill is scheduled to make his Dodgers debut Wednesday against the Giants. Saturday’s starter, Brett Anderson, is scheduled to start the series finale against the Giants on Thursday.The Giants are expected to start left-hander Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday, right-hander Johnny Cueto on Wednesday and their trade-deadline acquisition, left-hander Matt Moore, in the series finale.Reddick re-setStruggling outfielder Josh Reddick was not in the starting lineup against Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan Saturday. While Roberts said Reddick would be back in the lineup Sunday, he sounded inclined to move Reddick out of the fourth spot in the order he has occupied in 10 of his 14 starts since being acquired from the Oakland A’s.“I haven’t decided that yet,” Roberts said Saturday. “To get a day off is one thing. But also sometimes to get a different visual as far as where you’re at in the lineup, that changes things too. So I’m going to do whatever I feel is best to get him going.”Roberts said he has had “conversations” with Reddick, trying to help him deal with the pressure to make a good impression with a new team and the unrealized expectations that have become a black cloud following him. Reddick is 10 for 61 (.164) with one extra-base hit (a double) and no RBIs in his first 15 games with the Dodgers.“Everyone’s going to go through struggles,” Roberts said. “All hitters go through that. At the beginning of the season, it’s magnified. And with Josh coming over to a new team, it’s magnified. We expect him to get out of it and be the hitter he’s been his whole career.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Confusion reigns over Neymar PSG debut

first_imgParis, France | AFP | Neymar is poised to make his much-anticipated debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday when they travel to Guingamp in their second game of the Ligue 1 season.However, the French league are still waiting on a transfer certificate from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) before the Brazilian can finally play.The certificate has to arrive before Sunday if Neymar is to take to the pitch at the Stade du Roudourou this weekend, with it possible that FIFA may have to intervene if the RFEF do not send the document by Friday.But the French Football Federation (FFF) appear confident that the saga surrounding Neymar, who cost PSG a staggering world record of 222 million euros ($264m), is near its end.“The transfer is complete, so this should not last,” FFF president Noel Le Graet told sports daily L’Equipe.“The federation is in contact with our Spanish counterparts. There is no reason for this hold-up to continue. “These are complicated deals, but there is no missing document today.“I do not need to tell you that there are a few problems within the Spanish federation. I do not doubt that this will be quickly solved. Wolves do not eat each other, you know.”Neymar watched from the Parc des Princes stands as PSG cruised to a low-key 2-0 win over newly-promoted Amiens in their Ligue 1 opener last time out, and coach Unai Emery will want the forward available sooner rather than later.The 25-year-old scored 105 goals in his four seasons at Barcelona, and his new team will be expecting him to score far more over the next few years.Although the main goal for the capital club is to finally challenge for the Champions League crown, their first task this term will be to retake the Ligue 1 title from Monaco.Spaniard Emery has no doubt that his new arrival will help the team achieve those lofty goals, whether he makes his debut on Sunday or the following week against Toulouse.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more

Runaway Spotted In Red Bank!

first_imgLITA FORD, THE rock goddess and certified platinum solo recording artist was in Red Bank this past weekend, shooting photos around town for her new solo CD “Living Like A Runaway.” (Release date June 19). She was working with photographer and Rumson resident Mark Weiss, who is acting as both photographer and art director for her new release.Ford began her career at age 16 with Joan Jett when they were members of the all-girl rock band “The Runaways.”Lita took a break from the photo shoot on Sunday, March 18, to stop by Banegas Gallery at 43 Broad Street, where she signed a painting of herself by artist David Banegas, which was inspired by a 1983 photo by Weiss. She also signed a painting of her signature “Black Widow” BC Rich Warlock guitar.“Mark and David are brilliant together,” Ford said. “It was my pleasure to meet David and see his wonderful work. Mark is like a brother to me and the best at what he does, which is why I chose him to do the cover of ”Living Like A Runaway.” The two of them together are awesome.”Banegas and Weiss, first met in December at the “Holiday Flavour” event at the Oyster Point to benefit Lunch Break. Weiss has been auctioning his famous rock photographs to benefit the Red Bank soup kitchen. At the event, Banegas was painting “live” from a photo of Elvis. His unique execution of the image caught Weiss’s eye. The two had an idea to have David paint Weiss’s most iconic rock ‘n’ roll images. Both men, who as artists create visuals live and in the moment, want their work to help bring focus and funds to charitable causes. They have been busy collaborating both on Broad Street and beyond, and most recently, Banegas painted Weiss’s images “live” at events for rock luminaries such as Axl Rose and Zakk Wylde. The paintings have been signed by the artists and the proceeds donated to charities, such as the Grammy’s own MusiCares. The two artists recently returned from a rock ‘n roll cruise featuring a gallery of Weiss’s classic Van Halen photographs. Banegas painted live from Weiss’s 1981 photo of David Lee Rothand created a painting of Eddie Van Halen’s signature guitar. Both paintings are now on display at the gallery.Banegas grew up in Bolivia and has been painting since he was 6 years old. He explains his unique work as “something that happens at the moment, it flows, I can’t explain it.” If there is a name for this method it would be ‘Action Painting’, it is done layer upon layer and is created with pure feeling.” Once he captures the eyes, he is “locked in place and the rest of the painting then follows.” “It comes from letting go of all fears and painting what is felt and so this is a transcendent moment.”To learn more about Banegas and Weiss visit their websites at and www.davidbanegas.comLita Ford will be live in concert at the Prudential Center in Newark on July 11th with Def Leppard and Poison. www.litafordonline.comlast_img read more

Nelson outlasts Castlegar 7-6 in Bantam Rep Tournament thriller Sunday in Sunflower City

first_imgSawyer Hunt’s third period goal proved to be the winner as Nelson edged Castlegar 7-6 in the final of the Sunflower City Minor Hockey Bantam Rep Tournament Sunday at the Community Complex Arena.Hunt, giving Nelson a 7-4 advantage, took a pass from Nolan Percival and Jacob Shukin before burying the puck into the Castlegar goal.“Our boys worked very hard in the final game,” Hunt said following the game. “We played with a lot of determination.  Our first year players battled hard.”“Castlegar surprised us in the third period with a comeback and we fought right to the last minute of the game,” Hunt added.Despite trailing by a three-goal margin late in the game, the host squad made it close on goals by Alex Molnar and team captain Eddie Lindsay 24 seconds apart.The goal by Lindsay was the captain’s third of the game.Castlegar finished the first period leading 2-1 before Nelson took the lead for good with three second-period markers by defenceman Micah May, Justin Podgorenko and Hunt.In the third Shukin, Percival and Hunt scored for Nelson. Nolan Renwick opened the scoring for Nelson in the first.Nelson had an easy time advancing to the playoff round with lopsided wins over Cranbook, 7-1, Elk Valley, 7-4 and Invermere, 7-1.The overall winners then blasted South Okanagan 6-0 in the semi final to qualify for the championship game.Amit Bhabra, Matthew Brind’Amour, Keaton Roch, Jayden Maida and Percival with a pair scored for Nelson.Greg Markholm was in goal to earn the shutout.“I think the team played really great and I had a lot of fun,” said Nelson netminder Jesse Beauvais, picking up the final victory.The tournament victory is the second of the season for the Nelson Bantam Reps. The squad claimed victory in the South Okanagan tourney earlier this [email protected]last_img read more

Press Union of Liberia 50th Anniversary Statement

first_imgEsteemed Members of the Press Union of LiberiaVeteran members of the Press Union of LiberiaSurviving Organizers of the Press Union of LiberiaCompatriots in the march for a better LiberiaMy fellow citizensLadies and GentlemenToday had promised to be a very exciting date on the calendar of the Press Union of Liberia – 50 years on the struggle to ensure a free and responsible media landscape – 50 years of standing up to power, demanding and insisting upon the right to freely express ourselves, in so far as this expression was not tearing down bridges and creating division.Unfortunately, the difficult and cruel army of the ebola virus disease has restricted our desire to celebrate this day, given the wily disruption it has posed in our country and the sub-region.Further on the account of the ebola situation, all aspects of Liberian life have gradually ground to a halt. Schools are no longer open – children are lazying home; non-essential staff – whether from government service, NGOs, factories or other work places – have been ordered to stay away from work; Hospitals are operating at less than a quarter of their potentials, restoring such previously ignored diseases as mainline killers. In other instances, basic health services no longer run, and people are living until they die. Now in our country, the most significant activity that keeps working is the search for food – to survive.In the few instances where some work is going on, the preoccupation is on addressing the ebola situation. Today, every newspaper story has an ebola angle and every development grant is now directed at ebola.Now, given the gravity of the ebola situation and the risks involved with holding a normal celebration, the Press Union of Liberia has dedicated the observance of its 50th Anniversary to a nationwide Media Ebola Awareness Day.While we are joining the rest of the people of Liberia in talking about the gravity of the ebola situation, we also like to pay tribute to the men and women who, on this day in 1964, set forth the challenge to organize a body to protect the rights of journalists in this country, coordinate space for a free, independent and impartial media in Liberia, and at the same time chart their role in the development of the Liberian state, especially towards ensuring freedom of speech, the actualization of democracy and ensuring a guarantee of freedom, justice, equality and development in our country.The task set forth by those our compatriots have today bloomed into a most respectable organization – which cannot be ignored in anything good that has come out of Liberia.While our notes will continuously refer to E. Reginald Townsend, Henry B. Cole, Chauncey Cooper, Aston King and J. Persey Gumel, I nonetheless like to reference Tuan Wreh, who would go on to become a professor of law, but especially because he has provided for Liberian journalism students one academic text that provides a clearer idea of what journalism was in the days the Press Union of Liberia was organized. I also noted the longevity of James E Dennis, who has survived his contemporaries, and has given us the opportunity to think of the men who led the struggle.I also like to recognize Kenneth Y. Best, who has remained in the newsroom, even at the ripe age of 75.I wouldn’t forget T Nelson Williams, Sr., who led the organization of the Department of Mass Communications at the University of Liberia, providing for once an opportunity for Liberian journalists to gain academic qualifications here at home.But among all, our hero remains Stanton A. Peabody, who had the audacity to describe members of the House of Representatives in the best disposition of his thoughts, risking contempt and jail, raising the conviction of Liberian journalists to hold together and resist intolerance and alarm that speech must for once be free, especially within the realm of public service.Regrettably, despite a revolutionary coup in 1980, a new democracy-based constitution in 1985, despite ravaging wars that reorganized the entire state in 1990 and again in 2003, the very contempt of 1964 remains ridiculously unclarified in 2014.This simply says that the purpose of the Press Union of Liberia is just as relevant today (perhaps more) as it was 50 years ago.Across these years, the work of the Liberian media – now away from just newspapers and radio as in 1964 – has become even more challenged.The rights to freely speak, think and write – as guaranteed by the constitution have often been suppressed by various methods. At one point it was fancy to lock journalists up. As sensitivity grew and there is now the resort to court of laws to prevent that, other measures grew. Those have included shutting down, burning and in some instances torture and death.In more recent years, printing establishments were warned against printing certain papers, and as more papers have metamorphosed to owning printing presses, multiple, crime-based lawsuits are cropping up, with intent to shut down media houses.In still other cases, media houses have been shut down on claims of hate crimes, and at times just short of seditionIn all of these, our observation is that governments – in and out – have simply not come to grips with the reality that none can stop others from disagreeing in words, unless they have the capacity to stop others from thinking. Because the latter is impossible, efforts to prevent people from disagreeing is but a failed venture that only contributes to the evolution of conflict in our society.Ladies and Gentlemen:Given that we have dedicated our 50th Anniversary to the fight against ebola, we are keen not to get involved with rhetoric that will take over the recognition we are giving to the fight. Nonetheless, it is fair to note that the fight against ebola can only succeed when the various parties are confident that we are all in it together. That means, principles are standard and do not sway from case to case.We have a situation here, where all ebola deaths are buried en masse, and then burnt. Note is taken of the Ugandan Doctor from Redemption Hospital and the Catholic Priest. In the future – perhaps with better knowledge – some deaths are allowed special burial rites.At one point, all unexplained deaths will be treated as ebola deaths. A lot of loved ones were allowed to be carried away by a burial, then a burning team. At some point, the ratio changed, and the death certificates began. With deaths extending into the families of lost ones, an alarm has sounded.While crying aloud about denial and traditional practices, and telling all relatives and friends to accept the ebola reality, a new row has come forth when deaths in high quarters are cited to be ebola.There must be one standard that will instead get appreciation from all. Otherwise, those who have also doubted the circumstances of ebola in the first place will always have reason to maintain their doubts.On the other hand, the ebola situation has brought more challenge to the role of the media in reporting occurrences in our society. The state of emergency and yet unexplained restrictions introduces a tricky situation for a battle that must be fought inclusively. While media has pledged to work along in providing public education, the yet unknown keeps media in a position of fear, not sure of what happens next.In all of these, the Press Union has become a victim, observing 50 years of existence with a closure of a fearless newspaper outside of due process. As difficult as we find this, we still look forward in confidence to a High Court ruling on a number of constitutional issues that will effectively open up the space for freedom and justice for journalists and others in the wider Liberian society.So, as we arrange the 50th anniversary, our admonition is for journalists to strengthen their drive into making their journalism one that tells the entire Liberian story in a factual and inclusive manner. Our admonition is for journalists to take the greater responsibility of making their journalism enviable, stepping up to the challenge to ensure opportunities for all.On the other hand, after 50 years, and after a number of transformation in Liberia, it is time that the government – including the legislature, the judiciary and of course the executive – take additional efforts to tolerate dissent and disagreement. This is the purpose of journalism, and of democracy and human rights. Appreciation of free expression is more of the issues and expressions that one find especially offensive. The wider the diversity in our thought and speech, the better we can work together to find a common ground.We will continue working to improve the quality of journalism in Liberia; We will continue with our self-regulatory mechanism to show greater accountability by Liberian journalists to their audience, but we demand that going beyond fifty years – there must be increased opportunities to make journalism the pivot of our democracy, our governance system and stretching out accountability in Liberian society.Our disagreement with journalists should not be expressed through the power we wield, to the extent of violating rights and ignoring guarantees of freedom and accountability.Thank You!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more