Liberia / Africa

Journalists attacked in Liberia since 1992

  
A police officer clears shoppers from a market on the first day of lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 disease in Monrovia, Liberia, on April 11, 2020. The government says the right to free expression is suspended during the state of emergency. (Reuters/Derick Snyder)

Liberia’s journalists wary as authorities announce new press passes, threaten shutdowns

When the coronavirus arrived in Liberia, local journalists knew what it meant to report on a deadly, infectious disease; six years earlier they had donned personal protective equipment (PPE) to report on the Ebola crisis, Musa Kenneh, the Press Union of Liberia’s secretary general, told CPJ. But this time, Kenneh said, threatening comments from government…

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FrontPageAfrica publisher Rodney Sieh, pictured on his release from prison in November 2013. Sieh says journalists in Liberia continue to face threats and harassment for their critical reporting. (AP/Mark Darrough)

Q&A: Rodney Sieh on how Liberia’s press is faring under Weah presidency

Rodney Sieh, editor-in-chief and publisher of Liberian investigative outlet FrontPageAfrica, knows first-hand the harassment and risks critical journalists in his country face. In 2013, CPJ documented how he was sentenced to prison over unpaid fines in a criminal defamation case.

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

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

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.

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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)

In attempts to contain Ebola, Liberia censors its press

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…

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(Pan African Parliament)

Press freedom: Challenge of changing words into deeds

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…

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

Liberian press boycotts Sirleaf over aide’s comments

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…

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Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

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…

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Selma Lomax. (FrontPage Africa)

Liberia university suspends student journalist over article

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…

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

Liberian journalist Mae Azango on cold threats, hot stories

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…

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

In Liberia, journalist Mae Azango moves a nation

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…

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