Liberian newspaper shut down
27 August 2013, 15:37
Monrovia - One of Liberia's leading local daily newspapers
has been shut down after its publisher was jailed for libel over a report about
government corruption, its staff told AFP on Tuesday.
Rodney Sieh, managing director of Frontpage Africa, was
taken into custody on Wednesday last week following a Supreme Court ruling that
the paper should pay US $1.6m for libelling former agriculture minister J Chris
The court ordered that the paper be closed down until the
damages are paid in full.
"Law enforcement officers closed our offices on Friday.
So I will say that today makes it two days since we stopped publishing,"
Wade Williams, one of the paper's editors, told AFP.
"The workers have all stopped coming to work because
the building was locked by the court."
Toe successfully sued the paper after Sieh wrote a story in
2009 accusing the minister of stealing government funds.
Williams said Sieh had been on hunger strike since his
arrest on Wednesday last week.
"He has not been eating at all. People are talking to
him to eat but he has categorically refused to do so. We are very worried
because his condition is getting worse by the day," Williams said.
Frontpage has been vociferous in its criticism of the
government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in recent years.
Sieh is expected to remain incarcerated until he pays the
damages or Sirleaf intervenes.