Reporters Without Borders said today it was "very worried" about the plight of reporter Stanley McGill, of the independent paper The News, who fled his home near Monrovia on 10 June for fear of being attacked by members of President Charles Taylor’s Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) personal security guard who have already targeted him several times.
"McGill has been repeatedly harassed by the ATU probably because he is a journalist," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "The repressive policy of President Taylor and the ATU puts journalists in an unacceptable dilemma: either they continue working at the risk of injury or even death or else they are forced to flee, as a growing number have already." He noted that violence and sometimes torture was increasingly common in Liberia.
Armed men thought to be ATU members attacked McGill and seized his radio and mobile phone in April last year. This year, on 27 May, three men in ATU uniforms followed him, threatened him with their guns, stole his personal belongings and warned they would return. ATU soldiers visited him again on 6 June, attacked him and seized his laptop computer and important papers. Neighbours told him the ATU men had said they would "get him at all cost." He is now in hiding.
Six FM amateur radio stations have been shut down by the government because, according Emmanuel Todo, head of the National Communication Bureau at the Ministry of Information, "the motives and scopes of operations of these stations were not clear." The Association of Amateur Radio Stations said the stations had been authorised to operate by the government.