28 October 1998


Letter from the Ministry of Information demanding the cessation of Internet postings and the submission of program logs

Incident details


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.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 20 October 1998**

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


Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
info (@) cpj.org
Fax:+1 212 4659568

IFEX members working in this country 1

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