The Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia will on today, Friday, July 29, decide whether the Voice FM radio station of lead critical political commentator, Henry Costa should resume broadcast or remain closed.
The station was shut down early July based on an injunction and a declaratory judgment petitions filed before the same court by and through the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and the Ministry of Justice.
The LTA claimed the petitions were based on the fact that the station was operating illegally and that it had been using the assigned frequency of another radio station.
In the two petitions the LTA thru the Ministry of Justice asked the court to place an injunction on the operation of the station, thereby praying the court for authority to have the station closed down which was granted.
The LTA further in its petitions that the frequency 102.7 which the station operated was assigned to another radio station, Web FM and that the license and frequency of the Web FM was only intended for a period of one year operation and not to be transferred to another radio station as it had done.
“The frequency 102.7 was issued to Web FM for a period of one year and was not to be transferred to another radio station” said the LTA petition filed to the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice on July 4, 2016.
During recent argument weeks after the station’s closure, lawyers representing the Voice FM however asked the court to lift the injunction because said injunction cannot be enforced against the station after the management has filed a valid bond.
“You cannot have the station closed when we have filed a valid bond, the bond was filed against the writ of injunction for the station to be opened while we argue the merits and demerits’ of the declaratory judgment” said the station’s lead counsel, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe.
But state lawyers led by Montserrado County Attorney, Cllr. Daku Mulbah asked the court not to lift the injunction, arguing that the station has been operating illegally in the country.
The state lawyers further challenged the station to provide proof of its legal status and registration document from the Ministry of Information and a license from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) granting it the rights to operate in the country.
Today’s ruling by Judge Yussif Kaba will determine whether the injunction on the station by the court not to operate will be lifted or remain in force.
The Voice FM 102.7 is owned and operated by Costa, a political commentator who had a talk show named; the “Costa Show” with admiration from many Liberians due to the highly critical nature of issues he had discussed.