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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid