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Liberia

Blog   |   Liberia, Sierra Leone

In Ebola-stricken countries, authorities and journalists should work together

Liberians wash at an Ebola information station in Monrovia. The government has implemented restrictions on journalists reporting on the outbreak. (AFP/Pascal Guyot)

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is unrelenting, and journalists on the frontline of reporting on the virus are caught between authorities wanting to control how the outbreak is reported, and falling victim to the disease themselves.

October 17, 2014 4:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

In attempts to contain Ebola, Liberia censors its press

Security forces guard a checkpoint in an area of Monrovia that was in quarantine for several days as part of government efforts to try to contain Ebola in Liberia. (Reuters)

With the Ebola epidemic predicted to get worse, the Liberian government has taken action to silence news outlets critical of its handling of the health crisis which, according to Liberia's Information Ministry, has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the country since March. Publishers have been harassed and forced to cease printing, and journalists were initially not exempt from a curfew, making it difficult for them to work, according to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

Blog   |   Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda

Press freedom: Challenge of changing words into deeds

(Pan African Parliament)

The Pan African Parliament's (PAP) launch of a media freedom campaign through a "Dialogue on Media Freedom in Africa" in mid-May marks an important and welcome starting point. For too long, media freedom has been divorced from the debate around development and democratization when it has an integral role to play in promoting transparency, underpinning good governance, and enabling citizens to make informed decisions.

Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian press boycotts Sirleaf over aide's comments

Liberian newspapers protest threatening remarks by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's security chief. (Wade Williams/FrontPage Africa)

Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at a public event to mark the occasion, according to news reports and local media groups.

Blog   |   Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, UK

Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.

Blog   |   Liberia

Liberia university suspends student journalist over article

Selma Lomax. (FrontPage Africa)

A private university in Liberia has suspended a journalist studying there for publishing a newspaper story critical of the institution's management.

On May 8, private Cuttington University in Suacoco in central Liberia suspended Selma Lomax, a reporter with independent newspaper FrontPage Africa and a third-year student in agriculture at the institution, for four months over an April 26 story analyzing the financial struggles of the university. FrontPage Africa had previously reported on constraints plaguing the university since its founder and leading donor, the Episcopal Church of the United States, withdrew a major portion of funding. Based on interviews with university employees, Lomax's story discussed controversy over university President Henrique Tokpa, who has been accused of mismanagement and nepotism.

May 25, 2012 2:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian journalist Mae Azango on cold threats, hot stories

Mae Azango compared going into a hiding with hanging in a bat cave. (CPJ/Sheryl Mendez)

Mae Azango was not surprised when the Liberian police failed to help when she began receiving threats of violence in response to an article she had written about female genital cutting that was published on in FrontPage Africa on March 8. She had previously reported critically on the police, including a case of police brutality against the mother of a rape victim. "I was doing hot stories on them so they were not happy with me," Azango proudly states.

April 27, 2012 5:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, journalist Mae Azango moves a nation

The story that ignited controversy, generated threats, and forced a government to take a stand.

Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation, which made her the target of threats and ignited international controversy, has forced her government to finally take a public position on the dangerous ritual. For the first time, Liberian officials have declared they want to stop female genital mutilation, a traditional practice passed down for generations. Involving the total or partial removal of the clitoris, the ritual is practiced by the Sande secret women's society. As many as two out of every three Liberian girls in ten out of Liberia's 16 tribes are subjected to the practice, according to news accounts. 

Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, silencing press critics through libel lawsuits

A man in Liberia holds a sign in support of Rodney Sieh, whose newspaper was found guilty of libel. (Aaron Leaf)

During Liberia's 14-year civil war, the press was silenced through violence. Journalists now say they are the victims of a more subtle assault. They say a corrupt judiciary and a vindictive use of libel suits are a threat to an otherwise burgeoning free press. 

July 12, 2011 12:15 PM ET

Blog   |   Liberia, Libya

Tribute to Chris Hondros, who ventured far with his torch

Chris Hondros, Carolyn Cole, a rebel fighter, and the author in Liberia. (Courtesy Nic Bothma)

My dear friend Chris.

In the silence, I hear the symphony of memories that was your life as I knew it. I see your waving hand gestures and wry smile as you recount stories whilst we sit together in the tropical Liberian heat discussing everything from classical music to aperture priority. My heart and mind keep seeing you, hearing you, and struggling to believe you have moved on.

April 22, 2011 4:49 PM ET

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