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Blogs: Liberia Elections Editorial
Much Left To Desire In Media Ban & "pardon"
Friday 18th November 2011

Perhaps it wouldbe more honourable to begin by first joining others to categorically decry, condemn and reject both the cowboy style closure of three local media entities and the rather bogus and kangaroo process that attended their "pardon". It is shameful and troubling that Liberia, having endured a cataclysmic civil conflict due to political tyranny and elective justice, would be forced to down the dark paths.

 Power tv/ Fm,Love TV/FM, King FM/Clar TV were closed on the night of November 7 immediately after government security forces shot and killed a conflicting number of partisans of the Congress for Democratic Change. On the fateful night of the government action, many media entities were charged with reporting the demonstration at the headquarter of the  and how security forces CDC razed demonstrators, leaving some killed in cold blood.

Various protagonists who were directly or indirectly involved in the melee went to various electronic media and report what they saw, what they believed would come after and whom they thought was in the wrong. But the only "hate messages" trumpeted came from the affected media outlets; others were pampered, ignored and embraced as heroic and tantalizing reporting.

 A day or so before the November 7 inferno, a magazine without known editorial management dropped from the sky and distributed free of charge describing some Liberians as trouble mongers, charlatans and risky. The Government made no single shriek about it. It was patriotic Journalism. During the campaign and even today, the government's "dangling media" continue to demonize some parties and politicians. Those publications are neither “handate messages” nor " anti-peace".
 
The only unpatrioticJournalism came from only three media organs. Under the cover of darkness, state security forces storm their premises, coerced staffs out and barricaded their entrances with iron curtains. The move was hailed as patriotic; an attempt to quench the flames of anarchy that were bellowing from those media outlets. Bundling the media outlets up for litigation, the public was poised to behold the "crime" or "crimes" of the banned media outlets through a transparent and legal process. After a week of anxiety and suspense, the public gave audience to a naked legal charade: the "hate messages spreading" crime could not be proven. The media outlets were told to go free but not to repeat the "crime" for which they were sealed up and charged.
 
What constitutes "spreading hate messages? A convict, and potential convicts, must know before they can be able to tread a path that does not lead to the repeat of the crime. But the Court, or say the government, fails to say. And this means "spreading hate messages" has come to join scores of anti-media laws or better say to replace or reinforce Degree 88A, Criminal Malevolence Laws, amongst others that continue to be nightmares for Liberian Journalists and all other adherents of free press and free speech.
 
What a condemnable act by this Government which professes to be tolerant and pro-freedom regime. So much to desire as we move another into six years as in wake of international stabilization force draw down.


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