"The News" Newspaper Suspends Publication

The Perspective

July 11, 2001

One of Liberia's independent daily newspapers, The News, is reported to have suspended its publication for an unspecified and indefinite period of time. The decision to suspend publication was taken by its Board of Directors. The news of the paper's suspension was greeted with dismay by the editorial staff since there had been no prior or advance notice given the staff.

The management of the paper is yet to make public the decision taken by the Board. The Board's Chairman, Mr. Wilson Tarpeh, who also serves as President of the Liberian United Bank Incorporated (LUBI), is reported to be out of the country.

Known for its ferocious investigative reporting, the paper has suffered some set-backs in in February this year when four of its journalists (Joseph Bartuah, Abdullah Dukuly, Jerome Dalieh, and Bobby Tapson) were arrested and charged with "espionage" by the Liberian government. At the time, the journalists reported that the Taylor regime was misusing public funds by its exorbitant spending of about U.S. $50,000.00 to repair Taylor's helicopters and spending U.S. $23,000.00 to buy Christmas gifts for Taylor's family and friends, all amid the lack of running water, electricity, poor health delivery system, among others. The journalists were jailed, but due to local and international pressure brought to bear on the regime, the four journalists were released on March 30, 2001, after over five weeks of incarceration.

It is not known when and if the paper will reappear on the newsstand.

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