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Gov’t threatens to shut down media houses

Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Seyma Syrenius Cephus threatens to shut down any media institution caught spreading falsehood and seize their equipment.
The Solicitor General also vows to arrest anyone caught spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

The threats are in the wake of rumors circulating here about President George Manneh Weah being infected with the new coronavirus after several officials tested positive, including the Ministers of Justice, Frank Musa Dean and Information, Lenn Eugene Nagbe.

Minister Dean, who also is the Attorney General and Chairman of the Joint Security, presided over a regional joint security meeting in Monrovia on 11th April following which he contracted the virus along several of his officials.

Following that meeting he briefed President Weah along with Minister Nagbe, who facilitated a video conference with fellow leaders of ECOWAS thus, heightening concerns here that the President may be at risk due to his contacts with both officials.

But Cllr. Cephus addressing reporters at a regular Covid – 19 update Wednesday, 29 April at the Ministry of Information in Monrovia, stresses that coronavirus information should only be given out to the public by health authorities in Liberia.

His threats against the media come as series of complaints of alleged security brutalities against media practitioners continue to linger, reportedly prompting former Press Union of Liberia president Peter Quaquay, to withdraw from a group instituted by President George Manneh Weah to probe the media’s claims.Cllr. Cephus says misleading the public could cause chaos in the country, urging those found in such act to desist.

As of 27 April, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) reported 141 total confirmed coronavirus cases of which 45 had recovered, 16 deaths and 80 active cases.
Cephus angrily warns that any radio station giving misleading information will be shut down immediately, saying, Liberians in the country and abroad should stop misuse of the social media to cause problems in the country.

He says the government is in prayer with those officials and others currently quarantined at the 14 military hospital along the Robertsfield Highway outside Monrovia.
Meanwhile, Presidential Press Secretary Isaac Solo Kelgbeh has assured the public that President Weah is well and in good health. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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