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Liberia censors media coverage of Ebola

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Members of a medical team disinfect people at an Ebola treatment center in Liberia, October 2, 2014.

Liberia has passed a law that will restrict the media coverage of the Ebola outbreak in an attempt to protect privacy of the patients.

“We have noted with great concern that photographs have been taken in treatment centers while patients are going in to be attended by doctors. That is invasion of the dignity, privacy and respect of patients,” Tolbert Nyenswah, the Liberian assistant minister of health and the head of Liberia’s Ebola Incident Management, said on Friday.

Nyenswah said Ebola patients are no different from any other patients, adding that reporting on the condition of the patients should be under permission so that pictures or stories of “naked people” are not spread in a way that does not respect their privacy.

The law obligates all journalists to obtain written permission from the Liberian Ministry of Health before filming, photographing and interviewing Ebola patients.

Liberian authorities have warned that those journalists who infringe the new law will face prosecution as well as detention.

West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 people over the past few months, with over half of the fatalities in Liberia.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Ebola remains one of the world’s most virulent diseases, which kills between 25 to 90 percent of those who contract the disease. There is currently no known cure for Ebola.


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