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Security agency instructs printing press not to print newspaper

(CEMESP/IFEX) - The management of the Dremags printing press in Monrovia refused to print the 8 February 2010 edition of the independent "Heritage" newspaper.

"Heritage" editor-in-chief Augustus Bortu was informed that the commercial printing press would only print the newspaper if it removed all reports on the General Auditing Commission's audit of Grand Bassa County Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell.

This is the second time that the Dremags press has refused to print "Heritage" as a result of what has been described as political censorship allegedly placed on the newspaper by the Liberian government.

On the night of 7 February, Dremags manager Magnus Sidy called Bortu via mobile phone to inquire if the paper was planning to report on the audit of Superintendent Cassell in its 8 February edition.

Sidy spoke briefly with Bortu on the phone. The manager said his inquiry was warranted by an instruction he had received from the National Security Agency of Liberia warning him not to print "Heritage" if the newspaper included a report on the audit in question. In a separate telephone conversation with "Heritage" managing editor Mohammed Kanneh, Sidy warned that the press would not print the paper if the audit story was included in the paper's lineup. Both Bortu and Kanneh refused to respond to Sidy's inquiries on the grounds that it was an obvious act of censorship.

Due to this regrettable situation, "Heritage" did not appear on newsstands on 8 February.

The following day, the paper was printed by another company, the Faith Printing Press.

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