Josephine Bosma on Thu, 29 Oct 1998 20:18:14 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Liberia : government letter re. Internet ban

IFEX- News from the international freedom of expression community


28 October 1998

**Updates IFEX alerts of 20 October 1998**

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

The following is the text of the letter from the Ministry of Information
demanding the cessation of Internet postings and the submission of program
logs.  This letter was addressed to all members of the local press. 

Republic of Liberia
Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism
110 U.N. Drive - P.O. Box 10-9021
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa

October 14, 1998

Dear Manager/Editor/CEO

It has come to the attention of the Government of Liberia that Radio and
Television Stations duly registered with the Ministry of Information,
Culture and Tourism have begun to function in other communication areas
not covered under the terms of their existing licenses.  Pusuant to the
Guidelines regarding the registration of media institutions signed between
MICAT and the Press Union of Liberia, twelve categories for which
operational permits could be issued by MICAT were defined.  These, inter
alia, include, Radio Stations, News Agencies, etc., etc. 

Contrary to the fact that some of these Radio and Television Stations were
granted permits for the exclusive purpose of running TV or Radio Stations,
these institutions have in fact begun operating as news agencies on the
Internet for which they have sought no permit nor license to operate as a
news agency. 

Furthermore in sharp contrast to Broadcast and journalism ethics requiring
the truthfulness of information so disseminated, some radio stations and
newspapers have begun running un-authenticated newspaper articles and
gossip columns from Liberia on the Internet. 

Additionally, contrary to stipulations contained in the guidelines
requiring the submission of broadcast program logs quarterly, radio and
television stations have neglected thier compliance in this respect
thereby making it impossible for the government to undertake the requisite
monitoring of such program logs. 

In order to create a professional and responsible level playing field, the
Ministry of Information directs an immediate cessation of the continuation
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 in accordance with the 1998
Revised Guidelines covering the registration of media institutions in

It must be made absolutely clear that the government has a responsibility
to uphold agreements signed between it and private institutions just as
private institutions just as private institutions have an obligation to
obey the terms and obigations of agreements singed with the government. 

Accordingly, in view of the foregoing, and in order to ensure mutual
cooperation with the terms of the January 1998 guidelines governing the
registration of media institutions in Liberia, you are hereby requested to
submit to the Ministry of Information the complete program log of your
station for the last three quarters plus the log for the fourth quarter
for 1998 by or before 2 p.m. Friday October 16, 1998. 

Signed: Jeff Mutada, Assistant minister/ Public Affairs Approved: Hon. Joe
W. Mulbah, Minister

For further information, contact Kakuna Kerina (x103) or Matt Leone (x
118) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465
1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:,,

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