Years of civil war left Liberia’s media with the task of rebuilding. Many outlets still rely on financial support from politicians or international donors.
State-run LBS operates Radio Liberia. China has helped to renovate its transmission infrastructure. The private broadcasting scene includes some 15 radios and a handful of TV stations in the capital. Around a dozen newspapers publish regularly.
In 2010, Liberia enacted West Africa’s first freedom of information law. However, large fines imposed in libel cases have encouraged self-censorship, reports US-based Freedom House.
Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, but it became known in the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous civil war and its role in a rebellion in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
Although founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves, Liberia is mostly inhabited by indigenous Africans, with the slaves’ descendants comprising 5% of the population.
Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia’s civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting.
Big programmes are under way to address the shortage of electricity and running water. Corruption is rife and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic.
The Republic of Liberia
Population: 4.2 million
Major Languages: English, 29 African languages belonging to the Mande, Kwa or Mel linguistic groups
Life expectancy: 56 years (men), 59 years (women)
Currency: Liberian Dollar (1 ZAR = 6.8 LRD)
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