Freedom of the Press

Liberia

Liberia

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

77

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

31

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

20

President Charles Taylor's regime exercises sweeping control over all print and broadcast media. In mid-year, the president took control of all national broadcasting. He owns KISS-FM, the only nationwide FM radio station, and Radio Liberia International. His government banned private short-wave radio stations, including the Catholic radio station, Veitas, which discussed human rights issues. It had sought to resume broadcasting after a two-year hiatus caused by technical problems. State television and one private channel broadcast irregularly. Some newspaper journalists received death threats and were under surveillance. One print journalist and a talk-radio host were arrested. Foreign journalists were ordered to give a 72-hour notice in writing before they could enter the country. Two daily newspapers, The News and Guardian, were shut down over alleged tax arrears, and the board chairman of The News was briefly detained. The government dropped its case against four journalists who had been charged with espionage after they reported the government had spent $50,000 to repair helicopters while civil servants went for months without pay. They were released after writing an apology. All reports on fighting in the north of the country and on other unspecified issues of national security must be cleared before publication with the ministry of information.