Inter-Religious Council On Closure of Radio Stations -Says Govt. Bears Greater Responsibility for Peace
Journalism and public advocacy have come to their low point in recent years, taken over by clearly unruly and obscene utterances never heard of in the Liberian discourse. Whether the transgressions gradually becoming new normal, warrant some governmental actions for professed control or not cannot be readily stated. Meanwhile the Liberian religious community, supposedly the moral voice of the nation, has issued a statement amid news that three FM radio stations were shut down for being afoul with governmental regulations and perhaps legal precepts. In a statement, the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), which is a composite of Christian and Muslim leaders, says amid the situation, Government bears the greater responsibility for the sustenance of peace. The Analyst reports.
Hours following the closure of three radio stations in the country by Government, the Interreligious Council of Liberia (IRCL) has issued a statement expressing its concern about the situation.
The government last week order closed three radio rations, including the controversial Roots FM, for evasion of registration, failure to renew operational licenses, amongst other reasons.
The particular incident of interest was when state security forces served a writ of search seizure on Roots FM on Ashmun Street and resistance from elements of the pubic prompting pandemonium in Monrovia.
The Roots FM mode of broadcast, which often annoy sections of the public, is characterized by excitement to violence and unsightly or obscene comments.
In a statement to the situation, the IRCL said it was “deeply concerned about the closure of three (3) radio stations including the publicized Roots FM on reports of failure to renew their operational permits with the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).”
The IRCL, which comprises the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL), called on the Government through the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and the affected radio stations and their supporters to exercise a high degree of restraints as efforts abound to find a resolution to the current crisis.
“The IRCL reminds all Liberians that the upholding of the Rule of Law and the Strengthening of our democracy includes Freedom of Speech and of the Media to freely operate without fear of intimidation and/or molestation,” the Liberian cleric said in a statement issued during the weekend.
The statement asserted that “the arrests of journalists and/or the inciting of public violence, seizure of private properties, political intolerance, etc. are inimical to our democratic tenets and must be abhorred by all Liberians including the Government and the media.”
The IRCL reminded political parties and political actors to prioritize the democratization of the State and focus on achieving political transition through democratic means to avoid putting the country – already economically stressed—through unnecessary political tension, mayhem and/or uncertainty.
“The IRCL calls on the affected radio stations to seek a peaceful resolution of the closure crisis or redress through the Courts of Law,” said the Liberian religious community, but further reminding administration of President George M. Weah that it is the holder of the people’s trust and must consider that “it bears the greatest responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country.”