The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the closure of two radio stations on Monday night, 7 November, 2011 in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Love FM and Kings FM were forced to cancel their broadcast programmes after police walked into their stations and ordered the employees out.
“These are naked acts of intimidation and suppression of divergent views,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “The forceful closure of the radio stations by the police force depicts an act of aggression on the independent media in Liberia”.
According to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) an IFJ affiliate, Police walked into Love FM, stopped the news programmes and asked all the employees in the building to get out before locking up the main entrance. Similarly, at Kings FM, a live program was disrupted, the station forced to end broadcast and the doors sealed after the private security was made to surrender the keys. A third station, Power FM/TV was also visited over night by armed police men, who however failed to enter as the employees refused to allow them in. They left the station when residents began to show up at the station upon hearing of the Police presence.
The IFJ has also learnt with regret that a court in Monrovia issues an order against the management of Love FM and TV which is barred from performing their rightful duties pending a petition that was filed in court by the State through the Ministries of Justice and Information. The Management has also been summoned to appear before the Resident Circuit Judge presiding over the Judicial Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, 10 November, 2011 at 10:00 am.
The IFJ calls on the Liberian authorities to reopen the closed stations with immediate effect and to allow the independent media to perform its duty of informing the public, most especially in this transition period.
“The media in Liberia like elsewhere has a critical role to play in the democratic process,” added Baglo. “These acts that hinder this role constitute a flagrant violation of the people’ right to freedom of expression and the right of the general of citizensseek and receive independent information.”
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87 / +32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 131 countries worldwide