Liberia’s Independent Radio Stations In Trouble, As Another Radio Station Suffers Serious Attack By Unknown Men
Another independent radio station, Joy FM in central Monrovia has been attacked by unknown men destroying the station’s facilities including cable of its transmitter early Tuesday morning at 2am while its regular late night show was on.
The attacked on Joy FM brings to two the number of independent radio stations that have been through difficulties in the hands of unknown men in less than a month, the first was Root FM which facilities was also destroyed by unknown men.
According to the Station’s CEO and General Manager, Emmanuel Dahn who posted the attack on Facebook that there have been “strange movements” of unknown individuals around the premises of the station in recent days, explained that “The unknown men came and since they had no way of entering the building, I don’t know what their plans were but they never had access to the building because we have iron gates all over, so they just went to our tower and cut the cable that runs from the antenna on the tower to the transmitter.”
Dahn added that they have no trace of the perpetrators but he described the incident as “a well-organized crime”.
“It was not a criminal who came to look for cables, because they didn’t take the cable away after cutting it. The intention was to damage the institution,” he said.
The extent of damage to the station is unknown but Mr. Dahn said: “We might be off for quite some time because their action might have sent a shock to the transmitter.”
The main cable for the transmitter was cut into pieces by the unknown men on early Tuesday morning
He said the police was later informed about the incident and have sent investigators on the scene.
The attack against Joy FM, located on New Port Street downtown Monrovia, is the second alleged criminal attack against a radio station in less than a month.
The radio station of popular talk show host Henry Costa was attacked in succession in early February, and the second incident saw his transmitters stolen by unknown men.
Costa, an unswerving critic of the George Weah-led administration, was furious after the attack and pointed accusing fingers at the government for orchestrating the attacks in order to shut him off.
But Mr. Dahn, whose Joy FM is also critical against the current administration, says he “doesn’t want to accuse anyone” but added that the attack was probably based on the station’s critical stance on national issues.
“Joy Fm is one independent radio station and some times, the way we are vocal and critical on national issues… those who are involved, apparently they don’t want us to be here and they are looking for a way to silence the institution,” he said.
He said once attacks are directed against the station, it might well be “against our employees or our very selves.”
Dahn is now concern about the “safety of media practitioners” in the country and called on President Geroge Weah, who has publically push for the decriminalization of speech, to provide more protection for journalists.
“Let people stop seeing the media as an enemy of the state, because we will not remain silent on issues that affect our society, no! If we should be silent then it’s better we close down our radio stations and go down Waterside and do other business.”