REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Second destructive attack on Roots FM intended to intimidate

Candidate for the presidential election for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), George Weah (2nd L) speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in Monrovia, Liberia, 26 December 2017
Candidate for the presidential election for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), George Weah (2nd L) speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in Monrovia, Liberia, 26 December 2017

Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Following the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) alert on the vandalization of Roots FM, more details have emerged pointing to increased acts of aggression in the destruction to equipment and the carting away of transmitters. It is clearly intended to silence the critical voice of talk show host Henry Costa who in a Facebook live video said:

"This time, the attackers succeeded in taking all of our broadcast equipment away. I saw the pictures on Facebook - that's how I learned of the attack on my own radio station. And I told you people during the elections that we were headed for a dictatorship where they would try to muzzle us and stop us from speaking. Some of you just thought I hated the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change. I don't hate anybody. This is exactly what we have, we have a dictatorship on our hands - they will do the best they can to suppress those who criticize them, those who tell them the truth".

He further stated that:

"The reason why they are attacking me now is because they are afraid of me the most. This is an act of cowardice on their part. You're simply scared of me. You don't have the capability to intellectually engage me and counter what I say; so, you result to brutal means to disable and incapacitate me from what I do."

The attacks came six days after the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), an independent non-governmental organization committed to promoting and defending freedom of expression, wrote a letter to President George Weah asking him to speedily investigate the attacks on Roots FM after the issuance of an alert from CEMESP but it was ignored.

Many of the listeners are of the conviction that the burglary could be linked to the ruling party "because the Government has been mute and failed to investigate the first attack on a critical voice on 31 January 2019".

This reversal to free expression comes in the heel of the passage of the Abdullahi Kamara Act for freedom of the Press after its resubmission by President Weah, which seeks to repeal some sections of the Penal Law in decriminalizing free speech to allow an unfettered media environment. The attack is a contradiction of the Government's promise to protecting the media.

CEMESP is raising a red flag on the ugly development as an affront to the state protection guarantee of freedom of speech which must be challenged and probed to unearth the miscreants behind what is seen as a state sponsored clampdown on democratic tenets and civil liberties.

Latest Tweet:

Indonesia: @IndexCensorship says that a draft Music Bill would limit musicians' freedom of expression. The bill see… https://t.co/NhLXz6yQmQ

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.

CLOSE