Reporters Without Borders (RSF) early last week condemned attack on a privately-owned Radio Roots FM 102.7 in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, by seven masked gunmen, who smashed much of the station’s equipment. This was a violent act of intimidation and censorship, RSF said.
Roots FM is owned by Henry Costa, an outspoken critic of President George Weah in the morning talk-show he hosts, The Costa Show, which is one of Liberia’s most popular radio programmes.
According to the information obtained by RSF, the gunmen arrived at around 3 a.m., tied up the personnel who were present at the time, and then destroyed much of the equipment.
“The press freedom promised by President George Weah cannot be a reality as long as journalists are unable to do their job to freely reports the news,” said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF’s West Africa office. “As a matter of urgency, the authorities must publicly condemn this act of intimidation and conduct a full and thorough investigation in order to identify and arrest those responsible.”
Roots FM’s management said it thought the attack was intended to have a chilling effect on its director. The radio station was able to resume broadcasting 24 hours after the attack forced it off the air.
Liberia is ranked 89th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.