REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Opposition radio station shut down

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 8 May 2008, Unity Radio, a station run by Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), was shut down on the orders of the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the closure, according to Kargbo, was due to the installation of an illegal antenna which disturbed the transmission of other radio stations, and the fact that the SLPP did not go through the right procedures to register Unity Radio.

The statement by Kargbo followed a release by the Secretary General of the SLPP, Jacob Jusu Saffa, which alleged that the party had done nothing wrong, and that the Ministry of Information and Communication did not have the authority to shut down Unity Radio.

Saffa claimed that any interference with frequencies should be reported to the Independent Media Commission (IMC), which has the authority to notify the station. The Ministry, however, had no business interfering, Saffa asserted.

According to Saffa, the shut-down was a deliberate attempt by the government to silence the opposition of Sierra Leone. This was denied by Kargbo, who claimed that the closure was instigated by other radio stations which had lodged official complaints on frequency interference by Unity Radio to the Ministry.

According to the correspondent, the Chairperson of the IMC, Bernadette Cole, said that the Ministry's decision to shut down Unity Radio was flawed and that the complaints from the affected radio stations should have been processed by either the IMC or the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM), which is responsible for issuing out frequencies.

In his statement, Kargbo made it clear that if the SLPP radio station goes through the proper channels and remedies the frequency interference, the government would have no reason to uphold the shut-down.

Latest Tweet:

A welcome a call from MEPs to introduce a new European Union directive to stop abusive lawsuits against critical jo… https://t.co/BpnXSPtqoh