Liberia Bars Media From Posting on Internet,
Withdraws Star Radio's Shortwave Frequencies

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October 27, 1998


His Excellency
Charles Taylor
President of the Republic of Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists writes to strongly protest the order by the Liberian Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism for news media to cease posting information on the Internet, and the revocation by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Star Radio's short-wave broadcasting frequencies.

In a letter to news media dated October 14, 1998, the Ministry of Information directed "the immediate cessation...of all broadcast and newspaper postings on the Internet until such news media involved in the dissemination of news on the Internet are fully registered with the Ministry of Information." The letter also requested that broadcasters submit 1998 program logs to the Ministry of Information by October 16, 1998. Subsequently, on October 23, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications withdrew the 3.400MHZ and 5.888MHZ short-wave frequencies assigned to Star Radio.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists committed to the defense of press freedom worldwide, CPJ is deeply alarmed by these actions, which clearly constrict the free flow of information, and violate all journalists' right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and through any media of their choice. This right is guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 9 of the African Charter of Human and People's Rights, to all of which, we respectfully remind Your Excellency, Liberia is a signatory.

CPJ strongly urges Your Excellency to reverse both ministries' directives because they impede the dissemination of news reports. The affected news organizations are already registered with the Ministry of Information, and there is no supportable reason for its order other than restricting the free flow of information. The revocation of Star Radio's short-wave broadcasting frequencies only serve to compound this problem.

Thank you for your attention. We welcome your comments.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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His Excellency
Charles Taylor
President of the Republic of Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia

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