Newspaper Mangers in the country have alarmed that the Liberian Government strangulating their operations by refusing to pay them debt owed in the tune of thousands of dollars which is tantamount to "killing" their entities.
The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) in a statement issued over the weekend expressed outraged over what it called "the Liberian Government persistent and protracted indebtedness to media institutions" which it said is undermining the economic viability of the media.
PAL said government's huge indebtedness to media institutions especially the print media dates as far bar as 2006 and despite repeated assurances by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, government ministries and agencies have reneged on making settlement.
PAL said it views government "insensitivity and unwillingness" to settle its legitimate advertising bills as a "deliberate scheme intended not only to strangulate but also weaken the potency of the media in the performance of its duty as an effective watchdog of society.
The Publishers said the undue withholding of payment for legitimate media services rendered to government "constitutes gross violations of international media rights" and that "this government would risk being declared as media enemy number one" in Liberia.
The Association urged the Liberian Government to timely and urgently settle its entire financial obligation to newspapers, "to avert a possible blackout on all government activities," as the only available option to ensure payment.
The decision was reached at a general meeting over the weekend attended by nearly a dozen of newspapers owners to discuss the serious financial problem and the adverse effect on the media in Liberia.
PAL appealed to the general public for its understanding and support during these times of severe financial difficulties, should it be forced to impose a blackout on Government for failing to settle its prolonged indebtedness to the media.
Meanwhile, PAL officials and members have hinted that the threatened blackout could take effect as of Monday if government does to respond to debts owed media houses.