Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a second armed attack in less than two weeks on Roots FM in Monrovia, which has again forced it off the air. These repeated attacks on a privately-owned radio station critical of Liberia’s President George Weah constitute a serious violation of the freedom to inform, RSF said.
The latest attack was carried on the night of 10 February by two gunmen, who removed two transmitters and other equipment after threatening technicians. During the previous attack, in the early hours of 31 January, gunmen cut transmitter cables.
Roots FM is owned by Henry Costa, a political commentator who is often very critical of President Weah in his morning radio programme, The Costa Show, which is one of Liberia’s most popular talk-shows. The station is currently unable to broadcast.
“This second attack in less than two weeks clearly shows that Roots FM is being subjected to a persistent and unacceptable violation of the freedom to inform in which a government role cannot be ruled out,” said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF’s West Africa office. “This radio station’s security must be guaranteed.”
In a Facebook post, Costa said the station’s technicians were doing routine maintenance work on the transmitters when they were attacked on the night of 10 February. To describe himself as “disturbed would be an understatement,” he said.
Liberia is ranked 89th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 8 World Press Freedom Index.