TITLE

Journalism at a Crossroads in Liberia

AUTHOR(S)
Williams, Gabriel I. H.
PUB. DATE
September 2004
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Fall2004, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p31
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article relates the author's experiences from a trip back to Liberia early in 2004 and the difficult circumstances Liberian journalists face despite regaining their freedom after a civil war. Following 14 years of devastating war and brutal dictatorship, the media in the West African state of Liberia, like the rest of the country, has begun the tedious process of recovery. Since the dictatorial regime of Charles Taylor fell from power in August 2003, Liberian journalists have been enjoying a level of freedom inconceivable under the rule of the rebel leader turned-president of Liberia. There is a multiplicity of independent news outlets. According to an official of the Ministry of Information, the primary agency responsible for media affairs, this spring there were 32 radio stations, 31 newspapers, and three television stations. The list has been expanding since then. A notable aspect of this new era is that the media, like the general public, have been free to openly criticize public officials, including the interim head of state of the power-sharing transitional government, without retribution. Before the war, the independent Liberian media was regarded to be one of the most vibrant in West Africa. As Liberia prepares for presidential and general elections in October 2005, efforts must begin now to enable journalists to report and publish news of these changes in Liberia so people will better appreciate the fragile gift of democracy.
ACCESSION #
14690094

 

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