News / Africa

    Liberian Press Union Says Reopening Media Outlets in Country's Interest

    Press Union President Peter Quaqua says citizens should get their news and information from different media sources

    Press Union of Liberia president Peter Quaqua (left) with journalist Aaron Kollie
    Press Union of Liberia president Peter Quaqua (left) with journalist Aaron Kollie

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Listen to Butty interview with Press Union President Peter Quaqua

    James Butty

    The president of the Press Union of Liberia has called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to lift the ban on the broadcast stations the government shut down.

    The closures followed deadly clashes Monday between police and supporters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change.

    Peter Quaqua said closing the three radio and television stations has been an attempt to silence dissent and force the media into submission.

    Meanwhile, government prospectors Thursday were unable to convince a court why the stations should remain closed.  They requested that the court force station personnel to provide information to help them in their case.

    Quaqua said keeping them closed is not in the interest of the country.

    “We were in court and, as a matter of fact, [saw] the very huge presence of journalists who had assembled to show [their] solidarity.  We also saw civil society people and, interestingly, some politicians, as well as students.  The court requested the prosecution provide evidence.  And, what was interesting to hear was that the prosecution made a request [to] the court to issue a writ to be served on the institutions to provide the evidence,” 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 to broadcast hate messages against the government and deliberately spread misinformation and messages of violence, and instigate 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.”

    But, legal experts say the prosecution’s strategy to get the court to make the media institutions provide evidence amounted to asking the journalists to incriminate themselves.

    “They are alleging that the [media] institutions were preaching hate messages, and they were inciting the population against the government. They said all of that. They’ve not been able to bring that to court but, instead, they are asking the court to ask the media entities to produce those materials in court,” Quaqua said.

    While acknowledging the authority of the court, Quaqua called on President Sirleaf to reopen the stations because, he said, shutting them is not in the interest of the country.

    “Based on what we saw in the court, it gives us reason to believe that the president needs to act.  We’d like to call on the president to think very seriously about reopening of the radio and television stations so that they begin broadcasting,” he said.

    Quaqua said it was in the interest of the country to have the citizens get their news and information from one media source.

    “We advocate about media pluralism and diversity in the media. These institutions have been providing alternative views to the people, and I think it helps with our democratic process for people to make choices about what they listen to,” Quaqua said.

    Quaqua also appealed to Liberian journalists to play what he called a stabilizing role, especially in the wake Monday’s deadly clashes between the police and CDC supporters.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora