Liberia    GOVT CLOSES CATHOLIC RADIO STATION
The Liberian government shut down two radio stations this week, including one operated by the Catholic Church, citing public security concerns.
   Early last Wednesday morning, police officers in riot gear entered Star Radio and Catholic Radio Veritas and shut them down. President Charles Taylor's office defended the decision to silence the two broadcasters referring to "the rising incidence of inflammatory comments and radio programming filling the airways in recent times."
   Star Radio is managed by Fondation Hirondelle, a Swiss non-governmental organisation, with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The government statement said that Radio Veritas could resume operation if it provided a written guarantee that it would broadcast only religious material.
   The US government protested the decision and called for the Liberian government to allow them to reopen immediately. "The United States vigorously protests the unwarranted closure of these two radio stations and calls on the Government of Liberia to reopen them immediately, without conditions, and to return the confiscated equipment," the US State Department said. "This is an unacceptable infringement on freedom of speech and freedom of the press."
   
CWN
20/3/00

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