Via The Analyst: No Media Coverage At Ebola Centers Unless - Health Ministry.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information has imposed new media policy on how both local and international journalists should cover and report Ebola related stories from health care health care centers in the country, but a Liberian journalist condemns the restriction, saying that such restriction is unconstitutional.
Announcing the media restriction at the regular press briefing at the Information Ministry on Monday, the Assistant Minister for Preventive Services who also heads the Ebola incident management, Tolbert G. Nyenswah, said the purpose of the policy is to protect the privacy of patients and health care workers and to protect the health and safety of both national and international journalists.
He said the policy covers all interviews, written or audio-taped as well as video taped, recorded on the grounds of any health care health care facility or outside the facility’s perimeter that have been determined to be restricted. Assistant Minister Nyenswah also said no health care worker is allowed to give out information to either local or international journalists without a mandate from the head office.
The Minister said the restriction is backgrounded on the expansion of the initial Ebola outbreak in Liberia into epidemic as well as the number of local and international news media interested in covering the disease and the significant increased response to the outbreak.
He said although the government of Liberia supports the public awareness efforts by the media to stop the epidemic, but added that the extensive amount of infections and the extremely contagious nature of Ebola, the safety of those who are good and the care for those who are ill are the most top priority of the nation at present.
The Assistant Minister also revealed that journalists desirous of reporting from the health care centers should make their requests in advance to the Ministry before interview permission is granted any journalists at any health care center throughout the country.
He added that even if an interview is approved according to the guidance provided in the policy, the health care facility may deny the media access to the facility or cancel the scheduled interview during this epidemic if circumstance should change at the facility.
No news is bad news, and only government-approved news isn't news at all.