If warnings issued by Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) are not adhered to in the coming days, the frequencies of 21 radio stations operating in the country will be revoked, thereby putting them off the air, LTA Acting Commissioner has threatened.
According to LTA Acting Commissioner, B. Anthony McCritty, the LTA will with immediate effect begin revoking the licenses of the listed 21 radio stations for what he termed, “illegally operating in the country.”
Mr. McCritty said the 21 radio stations will face closure for failing to clear their arrears and reactivating their licenses in keeping with the LTA’s regulations.
The LTA acting boss made issued the threat last Thursday when he appeared at the Ministry of Information’s regular weekly press briefing held on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
Should the pending actions take place, the affected radio stations will be shut down. The include Kings FM 88.5, Destiny Radio 89.7, City FM 90.2, Radio Monrovia 92.1, Power FM 93.3, Radio Advent 93.7, Super FM 95.5, Teach FM 92.7, Radio VERITAS 97.8, United Methodist Radio 98.7 and Voice of Hope 100.7 FM.
Other stations are: Love FM 105.1, SKY 107, Destiny FM 101.9, Radio T-Five 107.7, HOT FM 107.9, Miracle FM 107.3, L-Net Radio 98.3, Radio Bethel 103.5 FM, FCA Radio and Nubian FM 96.7.
Reacting to this threat of closure, the management of the Roman Catholic-run Radio Veritas told the Daily Oberver that its management has met all financial obligations.
But the LTA Acting Commissioner observed that the frequencies of those listed radio stations are “jamming, because they are using those frequencies without the consent of the LTA.”
He pointed out that the situation was “very troublesome because it makes it difficult for the LTA to provide quality broadcast for the people.”
Mr. McCritty disclosed that some of the radio stations involved in this “unwholesome act” had authorizations that have expired, and have “deliberately decided to default in renewing their licenses for years.”
He pointed out that obtaining a frequency is a privilege and not a right and as such, it is within the mandate of the LTA to revoke the license of any radio station that refuses to renew its license or that will act outside of the code of ethics governing it.
According to Commissioner McCritty, the action to revoke the licenses of radio stations by LTA is not to create problems or target any radio station, but to build a vibrant communication sector.
He has named Liberty Radio FM 88.1, Liberia Women Democracy Radio FM 91.1, Buffalo FM 94.1, Radio Al-Falah 95.1, Magic FM 99.2, and TRUTH FM 96.1 as radio stations that have complied and cooperated with LTA by clearing their arrears and rectifying their
Radio Veritas FM 97.8 Management described as “misleading, the blanket categorization of the station by the Ministry of Information, and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) allegation that it (Radio Veritas), is operating illegally.”
MICAT and the LTA told the Liberian public at a press conference in Monrovia on Thursday that Radio Veritas is among several other radio stations operating illegally, with their radio FM license and permit having expired.
This, Radio Veritas management believes, is a misrepresentation of the facts, something that it said tends to smear its good name.
According to the station manager, Frank Sainworla, Jr., The Information Ministry officials have got it very wrong by listing Radio Veritas among the 21, “because documents are there to prove that the station has paid its annual MICAT registration for 2014, with official flag receipt dating back to January.
“As regards LTA, the Veritas management said the charge that station’s FM radio license had expired, contradicts the fact that back it April, 2014, Radio Veritas paid the amount of US$1,600, for annual spectrum/regulatory fee,” Mr. Sainworla noted.
According to him, LTA is fully aware of the station’s challenge to its insistence that Radio Veritas paid the license fee for shortwave (SW) frequency, which was decommissioned many years ago.
For years now, the Radio Veritas has neither mounted any antenna/transmitter nor operated any SW frequency.
Therefore, it is puzzling that the LTA would insist that license fee be paid for SW.
Radio Veritas, Mr. Sainworla said, takes serious exception to the joint MICAT/LTA statement portraying the station as being a ‘deviant’ in meeting its registration and radio spectrum/regulatory licensing obligation.
Therefore, the station assures its many “dedicated FM 97.8 listeners” that it will continue to remain law abiding and meet up with its legitimate tax obligations.