Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS)

Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) is a state-owned radio and television network in Liberia. Founded in 1960, the broadcaster was owned and operated by Rediffusion, London until 1968 when the company was taken over by the government of Liberia.

Media assets

Television: LNTV, Metro TV

Radio: ELBC 99.9 FM, Metro 89.9

State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)

Ownership and governance

The highest authority at LBS, which is a state-owned company, is its 15-member Board, which is appointed by the President. The company’s Director General and Management are also appointed by the President.

Source of funding & budget

Some 60% of LBS’ budget is accounted for by a government subsidy. The remainder of 40% is generated from commercials. For 2020-2021, the state subsidy was a total of US$ 893,000, according to data from the Liberian state budget. In 2022, LBS was projected to operate with a state subsidy of US$ 1.29m. The accounts of LBS are subjected to periodic audits by the government. LBS also accepts funds from foreign governments like China that it mostly uses to buy equipment.

In recent years, LBS has benefited from significant financial support from the Chinese government, according to journalists in Liberia interviewed for this report.

Editorial independence

LBS and its leadership are expected to be loyal to the government and give positive coverage to authorities, according to local journalists and experts. No criticism of the authorities is tolerated at LBS, according to the same sources. An ad hoc content analysis also identified a visibly pro-government bias in LBS’ reporting.

In its 2017 national elections assessment report, the Carter Centre wrote that the broadcaster was biased in favor of the ruling party.

In a 2018 report, Human Rights Council (HRC) recommended transformation of LBS from a state broadcaster to a public service company, which would mean to become editorially independent, among other things.

No statue and no oversight or assessment mechanism that would validate LBS’ editorial independence have been identified.

September 2023