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CPJ: Ebola Triggers Media Restrictions

Health workers bury the body of a woman who is suspected of having died of the Ebola virus in Bomi county, on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to "a standstill," noting that Liberia and two other badly hit countries were already weakened by years of war. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

The Committee to Protect Journalists says authorities in some of the countries affected by ebola have tried to control and censor coverage of the outbreak. The CPJ says governments and media should work together to ensure the public is well-informed about the epidemic.

CPJ West Africa Representative Peter Nkanga, based in Abuja, Nigeria, says the media have faced the most restrictions in Liberia and serious threats in Guinea, where several reporters were killed along with health workers during an Ebola awareness-raising mission in a rural area.

Nkanga says on October 2, the Liberian government announced new media restrictions barring health workers from speaking to the press. He says all local and foreign journalists were required to seek government permission before conducting interviews with patients or recording, filming of take photographs at health facilities.

He says Sierra Leone has employed the use of the media in spreading prevention and safety messages about Ebola. And in Nigeria, which has been declared Ebola-free, he says, the government was extremely forthcoming with the media with daily situation reports.

Nkanga writes in a CPJ article that “for journalists, media professionals and news outlets, the price of telling the important stories around this epidemic ravaging west Africa should not come with the cost of lives.”

To listen to Joe De Capua interview with peter Nkanga, clink on the link below.

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