News / Africa

Liberian Broadcasters to Make Court Appearance, say Lives Threatened

Alexander Bealded, radio director of KINGS-FM says he and other journalists have been in fear since police raided and shut down their stations

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with Alexander Bealded of KINGS-FM

James Butty

The managers of four pro-opposition broadcast stations in Liberia are due in court Thursday following a petition by the Ministries of Justice and Information accusing them of broadcasting hate speech and inciting violence.

The government Monday ordered the closure of two radio stations and two television stations after deadly clashes between opposition supporters and police killed at least two people.

Alexander Bealded, radio director of now-closed KINGS-FM, told VOA the lives of the journalists working at the stations are being threatened.

“The issue of people being put at gunpoint at our institutions is bothering us.  Several outlets were shut down in this country and the only outlets that are being heard now on national radio and television are institutions that are very supportive of the government propaganda arm, and we feel very threatened because every night we have to move from one point to the other,” he said.

In a petition to the First Judicial Circuit Criminal Court of Montserrado County, the government said the stations “illegally used their respective media outlets by broadcasting hate messages against the government and deliberately spreading misinformation and messages of violence, and instigating the people to rise up and take to the streets and engage in confrontation with the Liberia National Police and the United Nations security forces.”

Bealded said the closed stations have been objective and credible in their reporting.  In addition, he said, if the government had any court order to close the stations, such an order should have been delivered by an officer of the court and not armed police.

“I don’t know what he calls inciting violence.  We’ve been very objective, balanced and credible in our reportage.  As a matter of fact, if there were a warrant from the court for the closure of our institutions, should it be armed police officers to carry that shut-down warrant? I thought it should be the sheriff of the court,” Bealded said.

He said 10 armed police officers Monday stormed the buildings housing KINGS-FM, CLAR-TV, and CITY-FM, all owned by opposition leader George Weah and held at gunpoint a reporter who was live on the radio, and made him to sign a paper.

“What has happened in this country is the fact that the government does not want to hear independent, objective media institutions speak of the facts that are unfolding in our country,” he said.

Bealded said the management of the closed stations will continue to be law-abiding and show up in court even though he said he knows of no warrant by the police.

In a statement Wednesday, the Press Union of Liberia said the police action and the seizure of the three media institutions are simply an attempt to silence dissent and force the media into submission.  It described the court order as a cover up.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid