New Freedom House Report Reveals that Press in Liberia Not Truly Free

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MONROVIA – Freedom House, a U.S-based non-government organization, that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights says the press in Liberia is not wholly free.

In its latest Press Freedom report, (2018 Report) Freedom House, Liberia is graded 60 of 100, zero being the most press freedom point, while 100 indicates there is no press freedom.

The number of countries designated as Free stands at 88, representing 45 percent of the world’s 195 polities and more than 2.9 billion people—or 39 percent of the global population.

The number of Free countries increased by one from the previous year’s report.  The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stands at 58, or 30 percent of all countries assessed, and they were home to nearly 1.8 billion people, or 24 percent of the world’s total. The number of Partly Free countries decreased by one from the previous year. 

A total of 49 countries are deemed Not Free, representing 25 percent of the world’s polities. The number of people living under Not Free conditions stood at nearly 2.7 billion people, or 37 percent of the global population, though it is important to note that more than half of this number lives in just one country: China. The number of Not Free countries stayed the same.  The Gambia and Uganda rose from Not Free to Partly Free, while Timor-Leste rose from Partly Free.

Recently, the Press Union of Liberia expressed concerned over “reinforced hostilities against the media from within the power cycle of President George M. Weah”.   

The Weah-led administration has not had favorable relationship with the media since coming into being in January 2018.

President Weah has submitted a bill to decriminalize speech, however, officials of the government have constantly threatened legal actions against newspapers and their owners for stories and articles that are critical of the government.

President Weah is also on record for calling journalists and other advocates who are critical of his administration as “enemies of the state”.

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