LTA Justifies Closure Of Roots FM, Blames It On Failure To ‘Renew Operational License’, As Whereabouts Of Staff Unknown
The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), an entity clothe with the authority to assign radio frequencies to radio stations around the country has said today’s closure of Roots 102.7 FM was due to the alleged failure of the management of the station to settle its obligation with the LTA.
The Monrovia City Court in its writ cited that the radio station is in violation of various regulations of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) specifically under the Liberian Laws.
The writ from the Monrovia City Court further ordered that the Sheriff of the Court search from 0600 to 1800 in the premises of the management of Roots FM (102.7), 102.5 and 102.1 and those acting under its control located in Monrovia.
According to the writ of search, “the purpose of this request is for the discovery and seizure of mixer, microphones, headphones, computers, stabilizers, cables antennas (one bay-four bay amplifiers generators etc) which are believed to be in these premises.”
The court further instructed the sheriff to bring all the items to the court in keeping with the laws but the Ministry of Justice filed a petition search, seizure and arrest warrant for the Management of Roots FM 102.7 by and thru its General Manager, Station Manager and all those acting under its control, followed by 102.5 and 102.1.
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice said the court should arrest all those operating the station because they were operating illegally, and violating Section 15 of the Telecommunications Act of 2007 and chapter 11 sections 11.29(d) of the criminal procedure law of Liberia.
In count two of the government’s petition, “Petitioners maintains that as a consequences of its compliance to the exercise of freedom of speech as provided for in the 1986 constitution of the Republic of Liberia has currently experienced the upsurge of numerous radio stations and print institutions as well the despicable usage of the social media without no broadcaster (s), social media user (s) and journalist (s) being arrested despite all the negative insinuations and comments against the petitioner”.
The government also pointed out that the said frequencies are in violation of Chapter 11 Section 11.2 (d) of the Criminal Procedure law and a violation LTA Act of 2007 which states that, “No person shall own or operate a telecommunication network use to provide a telecommunication service to the public for direct or indirect compensation, except under and in accordance with a licensee or an exemption order issued by the LTA”.
As early as 8am this morning, October 10, 2019, score of police officers alone with court officers stormed the premises of Roots FM shutting down its facilities, and allegedly taken many of its equipment including the station’s transmittal to an unknown location.
One of the employees who was on duty prior to the closure of the station was reportedly arrested by the police, while the station’s Operations Manager, Fidel Saydee whereabouts is unknown