Liberian newspaper tells government to pay for its ads

AP News
Posted: May 01, 2015 12:44 PM

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — No more free ride.

That's what a daily newspaper in Liberia is telling the government, saying it will start charging to publish official statements.

Liberia's "In-Profile Daily" posted a front-page notice Friday saying that because of financial constraints and "a controlled advertising environment from the government," it will on Monday start charging $75 to publish government press statements, releases and feeds from the state news agency.

Publisher Carlton Boah told The Associated Press this is to retaliate for the government allegedly telling advertisers not to do business with the newspaper, which has covered controversial issues such as corruption.

"When you say something anti-government or what they think is anti-government, they don't give you advertisements," Boah said of Information Ministry officials.

"And so if you want to do that to the independent media, we have to take a stand and so I decided to be the first to take that stand," he said.

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The Information Ministry wouldn't comment but pointed out that the newspaper's latest edition carried advertisements.

Liberia has a booming newspaper industry and more than 50 community radio stations.

In a recent meeting with media executives, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that her government has provided more freedom to the press than any government in Liberia.