-Threatens To Shut Down Root FM
By: R. Joyclyn Wea
The Government of Liberia has threatened to shut down a local media outlet in Monrovia, Root FM owned and operated by businessman and politician Benoni Urey for allegedly using hate messages, profanities on its platform.
It can be recalled that Liberian Head of State, George Weah made a full commitment to member of the Liberian media that under his administration no media house will be shutdown, no journalist will be sent to jail unlawfully, beaten, arrested.
But, with this latest move by the Government through the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) seems to be a summersault of President George Weah commitment that no media institution would be shut down or journalist jailed because of publication.
Speaking Thursday, August 1, 2019, Deputy Minister of Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Cultural, Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) said it has come to their attention expression of the individual of the FM station something he termed as unbecoming.
He noted that the station has continuously preached incitement and hate messages, defamation, and profanities among others against the government something that violate the ethic for media institutions operating in the country.
“I think people seem not to understand or may not have understood what the president said. The president did not say, that I will guide media houses and institutions against the law,” Eugene Fahngon.
He said while they remain committed to the declaration of the President to protect media institutions and professionals, President Weah did not guarantee the protection of any media institution or personality breaking the law and walk sky free.
According to Fahngon, aside from Root FM using provocative, the institution does not have a license and permit to operate in the country since according to him, Root FM authority had not renew their license since last 2018.
He alleged that as of December 31, 2018 root FM has never gone to renew her permit therefore it does not have a license to operate in the Country and does not have a permit and that the frequency it operates under was transferred from voice FM to LIB 24.
“In order to operate a radio station there is no shortcut, you cannot bypass it. You cannot get a license without getting a permit from this ministry and in order to get a frequency for a radio station you must have a license and at the end of the day, every year, we have rules and guidelines.”
He further mentioned that under the rule and guidelines for issuing media permit says “all permit are subject to renewal on an annual basis. Permit can be withdrawn for bridge of media ethics, the ethics the following profanities, definition, and false information among others.”
Fahngon stresses that only MICAT has the authority to issued, assigned final permit or recommend to the Liberia Telecommunication Authority to issued and signed final permit and to grant license.
“We have been very tolerance, as of “Many of you may say we are witch hunting, we are shutting down critical voices, but, Ma Mary paid for her market place Jalloh paid for his shop
He indicated while the President is working to ensure everyone in the media works in the interest of the Liberian people, anyone who is going to abuse their tolerance should be prepare for the consequences no matter what because it is the rule, law and they careless of what the press will write or report.