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Seven media outlets suspended on eve of presidential elections

(CEMESP/IFEX) - 8 November 2011 - The Government of Liberia has closed down seven radio and television stations that are perceived to be pro-opposition.

In separate directives issued by order of James Zota, the presiding judge of the First Judiciary Circuit Court of Montserrado county, Power FM, Power TV, Love FM, Love TV, Kings FM, Clar TV and the Shaiata community radio station were instructed to halt all broadcast operations pending the hearing of a petition filed by the Government of Liberia. The hearing is scheduled for 10 November at 10 a.m. in the judge's chambers.

The Government of Liberia via the Ministries of Justice and Information accused the media outlets of disseminating hate speech in the aftermath of fighting between riot police and Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) supporters on 7 November that led to the deaths of at least three people.

On 7 November, the main opposition CDC staged what they described as a peaceful demonstration in support of a boycott action announced a few days earlier.

The television stations aired images from the ensuing riot, which showed dead bodies and wounded people believed to be CDC partisans.

The Executive Director of the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, Malcolm Joseph, condemned the actions against the media outlets. He noted that lawyers representing CEMESP's legal defence programme are currently studying the court documents issued to the media outlets to prepare for subsequent representation during the court hearing scheduled for 10 November.
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