April 15, 2020

Covid-19 lockdown forces Liberia’s newspapers to suspend printing

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the government of Liberia to provide financial assistance to the country’s print media, which have had to suspend production of print versions because of a nationwide lockdown that is part of the state of emergency declared by the government on 8 April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) said its members were suspending publication of print versions until further notice, but would continue to publish online in order to “keep their many readers, clients and advertisers informed of ongoing developments in the fight against Covid-19.”


While acknowledging that the suspension was inevitable, given that the entire country was under lockdown, the PAL stressed that it would nonetheless have a major impact on its members’ revenue.


“Suspending the publication of newspapers is a major blow for news media pluralism in a country where not everyone has access to the Internet,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office. “The government must make it possible for journalists to circulate and must grant financial compensation to media outlets deprived of revenue from print sales.”


The suspension comes just days after publishers condemned the state’s failure to pay a total of 247,000 US dollars it owes to a dozen newspapers for the ads it has placed with them.


Liberia is ranked 92nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.