20 February 1998


Government continues to refuse to issue publishing permit

Incident details

legal action

(IPI/IFEX) - IPI is concerned about the Liberian government's continued
refusal to give the "New Democrat Weekly" a permit to resume publishing. The
"New Democrat Weekly" existed and was registered with the Ministry of
Information before the destruction of the newspaper's offices in April 1996,
which occurred when leaders of the warring factions competing for political
supremacy in Liberia destroyed all independent media outlets in the capital,
Monrovia. The building housing the "New Democrat Weekly" was razed to the
ground, leaving the presses, darkroom and other equipment in ashes. The
paper's computers were looted and sold to offices of the Nigerian Army in
the West African peacekeeping force, ECOMOG.

**Updates IFEX alert dated 1 May 1996**

The "New Democrat Weekly" has not been allowed to relaunch its operations
due to the Government's claim that the paper failed to meet a January 1997
deadline, based on a 1972 law which requires all newspapers to register
within a certain timeframe.

IPI regards the refusal of the Ministry of Information to give the "New
Democrat Weekly" a permit to be an outright banning and a violation of
everyone's right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas", as
guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • urging them to do everything in their power to ensure that the "New
    Democrat Weekly" is allowed to immediately resume publishing, and that laws
    and practices restricting the free entry to the field of journalism, or over
    its practice, are eliminated.

    Appeals To

    H.E. Charles Taylor
    President of the Republic of Liberia
    co public fax at Telecom +231 225217

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    International Press Institute
    Spiegelgasse 2
    1010 Vienna
    ipi (@) freemedia.at
    Fax:+43 1 5129014

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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