Thursday, January 24, 2013
Setting up a brand new radio station on the ruins of a civil war is not an easy job. But also not an impossible job, proofs the Liberia Media Center. Started as a local radio station in 2005, the center has grown into the most important media organisation of Liberia and is now financial independent. “It is amazing to notice how quickly the Liberian Media Center developed. The country was totally destroyed during the war. The Liberian people are trying to rebuild their country from scratch”, says Bram Truijen, project coordinator at Free Press Unlimited.

The Liberia Media center aims to develop and support local media in Liberia. Nowadays the center is training hundreds of journalists and is representing 24 local radio stations. With support of Free Press Unlimited, the center has grown and professionalised. “The staff of the Liberia Media Center has become very able in recruiting own funds and donors, such as the European Union. This means that they no longer need the support of Free Press Unlimited.”

One of the strengths of the center is that they are innovating and developing continuously. They respond to new developments in Liberia such as the Internet. Citizens are now able to join in the conversation about policy with local and national officials. Both through social media and live on the radio. Truijen: “The Liberia Media Center shows how media can play an important role in the democratisation process of Liberia. After the 2011 elections, the Liberia Media Center tracked and monitored the plans and budgets of the new government for 150 days. Does the new government do as they promised? By making the results available for everyone, the center is serving as a watchdog for the public.”