(LINA) – Information Minister Eugene Nagbe has refuted reports that the recent action by the ministry to suspend operating licenses and authorization for all new media institutions is a witch hunt and an infringement on the right of the press.
Nagbe clarified that the action of the government is aimed at reviewing the licenses of media institutions and addressing some anomalies as observed.
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information on Monday announced the suspension of all new operating licenses of and authorization issued to media operators from January 1 to June 18, 2018.
The government informed the public that it was reviewing the regulatory regime due to technical and administrative anomalies which include duplication of frequencies to radio and television operators, and incorrect designations and submission.
Since the pronouncement by the government there have been diverse views emanating from the public with some citizens opining that the action of the government is a witch hunt and an attempt to silence critical voices and critics of the government.
Mr. Patrick Honnah, former Deputy Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System, took to his official Facebook page and alleged that the action of the government is an attempt to prohibit him from opening his media institution.
Honnah claimed that since he announced the opening of PUNCH FM, a radio station owned by him, he has received several attacks from officials of government, adding that PUNCH FM is the direct target of the government’s recent action to suspend all operating licenses issued to new media institutions.
Nagbe, who spoke via mobile phone to a local radio station in Monrovia on Tuesday, pointed out that government remains committed to a free press and the government has no intent of stopping any journalist from practicing.
Nagbe emphasized that it is quite unfortunate for anyone to think that the government action to review the licenses of new media institutions is a threat to press freedom.
“We have not infringed on anybody’s right, this government has proven over and over that it supports free press,” Nagbe emphasized.
He, however, encouraged those who feel that the action of government is an infringement of their rights to test the democratic system by going to court.