D-15 Radio Gives Gov’t 48-hr Ultimatum to Publish Costa’s Indictment

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Tomreen Kennedy, station manager, Radio Bushrod (also known as D-15 FM)

— CEMESP Says Gov’t’s Decision Violates Constitution

Barely a day after the Government of Liberia threatened to shut down D-15 Radio if Talk-Show Host Henry P. Costa appears on it for his vocal and politically inflammatory discussion, the management of the radio has given the government a 48-hours ultimatum to publish Costa’s indictment or turn down the media blackout against him (Costa).

On the evening of Sunday, January 17, 2021, the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism issued a communication calling on the management of D-15 Radio not to air anything from Mr. Costa, whom the Ministry considers a “Fugitive.”

Besides the release issued, the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Ledgerhood J. Rennie, invited the management to reiterate the content of the statement in words, preventing Costa from using the station’s platform to disseminate information.

Costa, a popular talk show host who has risen to prominence in political activism and organized two heavily attended peaceful protests in Monrovia (June 7, 2019 and January 6, 2020), escaped Liberia after his last protest when the government accused him of entering Liberia with a Laissez-Passer instead of a passport.  In addition to this, Costa’s popular Roots FM was shut down and its equipment seized by state security in 2019, on the orders of the court.

Tomreen Kennedy, D-15 Radio Manager, said Minister Rennie reiterated that Costa is a “Fugitive” and did not want hate speech to be used by him.  Rennie is quoted as saying that this is not only restricted to D-15 but all media institutions.

“We were concerned about other media institutions that have been hosting him, including Spoon FM/TV. We don’t have a problem but need the legal document proving that Costa is a fugitive to be published in the media because the ministry is responsible to regulate all media institutions,” Mr. Kennedy said.

According to him, declaring someone a fugitive shows that the government may have drawn an indictment through the Ministry of Justice or the Supreme Court against said individual.

“Let the media get to know about this because D-15 Radio will not want to do business with someone who is a ‘fugitive’.” Doing business with a fugitive will affect us as well. If the government does not come out or publish the indictment, the Management will come out with a definite position,” Mr. Kennedy said.

The government’s move comes after it had shut down earlier Costa’s Roots FM for allegedly operating without a license, though, according to court records, Costa’s broadcast license application submitted and was delayed indefinitely by the government.

However, Mr. Costa has been appearing on local radio stations to discuss national issues, which has led to the government’s warning that is shocking many people.

The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) says the action of the Government of Liberia banning the relay of the “Costa Show” on D-15 radio, violates Liberia’s Constitution and contradicts the country’s expressed commitment to the intent of the Table Mountain Declaration to promote strong, free and independent press to watch over public institutions.

President Weah had signed the Press Freedom Act named and styled, “Kamara A. Kamara Act of Press Freedom”, named after the late President of the Press Union of Liberia, Kamara Abdullai Kamara.

Liberia was among the first group of countries that signed the Table Mountain Declaration that decriminalizes free speech against the Executive, a continental press freedom agreement that calls on governments to play a germane role that prevents the press from being hindered and punished through ‘insult laws’ and criminal defamation.

The Government of Liberia on Sunday, January 17, 2021, warned D-15 FM, a privately owned commercial station, not to relay the “Costa Show”, arguing that the host and political commentator, Mr. Henry P. Costa, is a “fugitive” from justice  and  hence “cannot host radio programs from the United States meant to communicate to the Liberian audience.”

Without attempting to divert from its core focus on the current violation of freedom of expression to get into the travel document controversy involving Mr. Costa, CEMESP states that Article 13(b) provides that “Every Liberian Citizen shall have the right to leave and to enter Liberia at any time.” And that in the case of a crime, Liberia should exercise its extradition treaty agreement with the United States to have Mr. Costa answer to any charges.

“More importantly, the government ban on Mr. Costa from broadcasting violates Article 20 of the Constitution of Liberia that guarantees that ‘No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law’,” said CEMESP, quoting the Liberian Constitution of 1986.

Mr. Costa has never been convicted of any crime in any court and therefore he cannot be deprived of his right to freedom of expression guaranteed in Article 15 of the Constitution that says “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof” and that “This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government, save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution,”

“If the Government proceeds to maintain its ban on Mr. Costa, stopping him from broadcasting and or revoke D-15’s broadcast license for pursuing its partnership with Mr. Costa to relay his show, the government would be denying Mr. Costa and several other Liberians the ‘Equal opportunity for work and employment.’ This would be a further violation of Article 18 of Liberia’s 1986 constitution.” 

“This ban comes fifteen months after Roots FM, the radio station of Mr. Costa, was shut down and equipment seized by state security for not having a license to operate.”

CEMESP, therefore, draws the government’s attention to the disadvantage associated with the governance process as it tries to stifle the press and silence critical voices.

“The government cannot proceed with these old regime tactics after celebrations of the enactment of the Kamara Abdullai Kamara (KAK) press freedom law that abolishes libel and promotes free press and a society of divergent views,” said CEMESP’s release.

Roots FM (The Costa Show) and Punch FM are the two radio stations that have been denied operational licenses and frequencies in the Weah Administration.

“The Government of Liberia should do the right thing by revoking all threats and allow the D-15-Costa Show partnership to proceed,” CEMESP added.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Go to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana or Togo, and display the unwarranted madness of Henry Costa, and see if such radio station manager is not in jail already!
    Lionizing such dissident like Henry Costa was the order of the day in the Doe era when unscruplous induviduals were gratified to the demonstruction of the country including that old witch Ellen Johnson Sirleaf!
    Henry Costa’s incitements against public officials in Liberia have territorial jurisdiction hurdles in the events of defamations or libels litigations!
    The cowards who are pushing Henry Costa like late General Thomas Quiwonkpa should know their days are numbered!

    • Making comparison to other countries without details information is nonsense. Do not compare bad governance with your government. There are so many things the citizens of those countries enjoy and you don’t have nothing to make comparison of. Freedom of speech this government was advocating for while in opposition is what Costa is advocating for today.

      • What an uttered madness of your insinuation! West Africa is permeated by undemocratic governance, are you so foolish to believe the likes of Togo, Ghana, are democratic, where recent elections were rigged?

        Ghana is an authoritarian adhesive government with a brutal partisan police force, what freedom is being enjoyed there?
        The case of Togo is a nightmare with unbending family rule!

        Dont be silly to attribute freedom of speech to the foolishness of Henry Costa going on in Liberia!
        If Twitter, Facebook, and other news outlets suspended the account of the president of the United States, who is foolish Costa?

        • US-owned Christian radio station in Rwanda shut down for saying women are evil
          By Munachim Amah, CNN

          Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT) April 26, 2018

          If a government will shutdown a whole radio station from the most powerful country in the world, Radio Bushrod Island, your fate is sealed once you make that mistake of your existence to air anything from that Portuguese criminal and fugitive.

          SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE LEG LIKE MR, LIARMAN, AND SEE WHO WILL PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR YOU AND PAY YOUR CHILDREN SCHOOL FEES, MR. MANAGER. Nyonblee Karngar has stolen enough from LPRC and has collected enough of OPERATIONAL FUNDS WHILE THAT FUGITIVE IS RELAXING IN PHILIDELPHIA EATING MAMBURGER AND GOING ON THE BEACH TO BEACH PARTIES.

          So when that shit you call radio station is closed down, it will only be your KPORMENI (YOUR OWN AGONIZING WAHALA)! SIT DOWN THERE AND DEPEND ON CARELESS BRAVADO IN STUPIDITY.

    • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha l
      Go to Nigeria, go to Ghana , go to Ivory Coast and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ! So why not go to England or Germany? In fact, why not the US ? Whose constitution that is borrowed and has become too complicated for a God Forsaken primitive country to understand the principles of constitutional democratic rule of laws.
      Now he says go to Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast for enlightenment on suppressive constitutional rule. If so, then it is fair to say get rid of the US styled constitution and take the Nigerian piece of constitution. Infact, it is much better to have a Nigerian as President, than to have George as President. The country already has a Nigerian to head its corruption agency as he is already an adviser to George on corruption issues. So why not a Nigerian President ? Then no one has to go to Nigeria. When Liberians loved their country.
      The Information Minister can instead used the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity to counter act the Henry guy’s silly political ideas broadcasting on the poor people’s communitiy radio station. There has to be some good thing that was done by the regime of George under his Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity that the Information Minister and his propaganda team can used to enlighten the mindset of the people. If in any case they are not aware or do not see the promises of prosperity carried out by the regime.
      For a regime spending almost six hundred million US dollars on its Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity, it is the responsibility of the Information Minister to point that prosperity out to the citizens. Shutting down radio stations in an effort to stop competitive ideas is not the way to go. Much more telling citizens to go to Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana and Ivory Coast to see how those regimes are treating their citizens.
      Perhaps, that’s the reason why Liberians in that country are extremely experiencing hell on earth at the hands of George. Because it is the same thing being experienced by the citizens under the regimes of Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Togo . So Liberians should experienced the same at the hands of their regime.
      Is there nothing that the Information Minister can actually talk about concerning the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity under the regime ? Nothing at all ? Than to deprive the citizens of their rights to hear from someone else with a different political opinions ?
      A regime that is spending six hundred million dollars on all of its propaganda agencies is afraid of a lonely Henry guy ? One lonely Henry guy ? The regime wasted two and a half years, focusing its attention on this one silly guy, and never actually achieved much on its prosperity promises made to the citizens of that country. And someone says your go to Nigeria.
      Wow ! What A Regime ? What A God Forsaken Regime There Is For All To See ? Failure is written all over it.
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
      What A Regime ?

    • There is nothing Henry Costa would say that the Liberian people don’t already know about George Weah’s incompetence and the massive corruption in his government. So whether Costa is allowed on the radio or not makes no tangible difference. We live in a time where there are more radio stations in Liberia than ever before and the majority of Liberians now have cell phones. So people have means to communicate and get information. The government is wasting its time on Costa. When you go to the bank and you can’t get your money out, it reinforces what Henry Costa says about the incompetence of George Weah. Liberians get it. They know what’s going on and they have EJS to compare to Weah.

      You CDC supporters can say all you want but so long Liberians are suffering while Weah and his crooks are living large, Costa is not the issue. The issue is George Weah poor leadership of the country. Liberians are regretting why they elected him. The challenge for Weah is: How can he change Liberian’s perception of his leadership and his reputation. Can he? I highly doubt it because people don’t trust him anymore!

      • The International Community, THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY, World Bank, IMF, MCC, THE UN, EU, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, ETC. have trumpeted their confidence in the integrity, capability, proficiency, trustworthiness, and excellence, of His Excellency President Dr. George Forky Klon Jlaleh Gbah Ku GbehTarpeh Manneh Weah.

        The issue is not about what THE EXTREMELY RUDE Portuguese criminal Henrique Pedro Costa has to say. The issue is about him a Portuguese criminal been a fugitive absconding from Liberian jurisdiction, and his extremely irresponsible behavior, and the insults and profanities he uses on air.

        These are conducts unbecoming of any journalist or a civilized person at any radio station. And you know it. Henrique Pedro Costa the Portuguese criminal is very unprofessional and rude.

        • Portuguese criminal Henrique Pedro Costa? You guys in that poor backwards country like to use race to detract from the issue. What makes you 100% black Liberian better than a mixed-race Liberian? Don’t let us open a can of worms that is not good for our discourse because since the native people took over Liberia starting with Samuel Doe, its been nothing but disaster. Now come Weah who is a complete idiot and corrupt. All you guys do is tell lies. The international community does not have confidence in George Weah’s leadership, so stop lying. If Weah was such an awesome President, why haven’t investors come to invest in the country? You’re full of shit.

          • You got no box to open. Henrique Pedro Costa IS FINISHED!

            When I told him and some other zombies that Costa being happy for choosing to be a fugitive was a shot in his own chest, he thought I was jesting.

            Now he knows TRUE NATIONALIST IS NOT A JOKER!

            COSTA is a thief. In fact, I have just found out on another site through his erstwhile allies, the Economic Freedom Fighters, and CoP Youth Wing which exited his banditry that Costa is a common thief.

            So, they decided not to have anything to do with him anymore. No wonder even Yekeh Kolubah said Costa is simply a Portuguese boy and not a man.

  2. D-15 radio station should’ve studied the situation. For instance, review LTA’s 2007 Act, or a relevant law, to ensure whether broadcast frequency allocation to a third party (Costa) is a right, or privilege that may be revoked for any reason by the licensing authority – MOI. Moreover, even citing the KAK Act of Press Freedom on behalf of a man who – to not be limited by journalistic ethics – decried being a member of the profession is the height of hypocrisy.

    The universal campaign pitch of politicians has always been making promises to ensure better lives for citizens. In Liberia, apparently, all the opposition and pressure groups have to do is create crises, or organize street protests that would deepen poverty by keeping investors and tourists out. Little wonder, then, that feeling besieged, ruling parties cling to supposedly loyalists instead of seeking competent aides – a vicious cycle.

    Rush Limbaugh never threatened an uprising in America. Please, Keep Costa away from Liberia’s airwaves even if it takes going to the Supreme Court. Let judges there rescind that order to be complicit in the resulting chaos. Are we crazy, freedom of speech has limitations in the U.S as the impeachment of Trump demonstrates?

  3. It is very embarrassing that one who claims to be a lawmaker a senator (Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence) at that, has to be taught what it entails to be a fugitive or what the concept of jurisdiction entails.

    Look at the stupidity about giving an ultimatum to a state under the given circumstances when the very state or government IS THE JURISDICTION INSTITUTIONALIZED with sovereign authority and power over even aliens for acts done abroad but which endangers or negatively affects the national security of of the state.

    If such municipal and international legal principle affects even aliens, does one especially a lawmaker has to be told of such, even if the manager of the radio station is some idiot or school dropout?

    Corrupt, indiscipline, and ignorant, Nyonblee, know this forthwith and henceforth that this protective principle under which a fugitive is denied from airing his trash on a radio station within a given jurisdiction, is not only founded on legal justification, but indeed, particularly based on political considerations as is the case with the political question doctrine which is a limitation of Supreme Courts.

    THIS IS INTER ALIA WHY GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD SHUTDOWN RADIO STATIONS AND BAR FUGITIVES FROM RADIO STATIONS WITHOUT THE COURTS HAVING ANY FISH TO FRY THEREIN!!

    NOW, IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT I AM TELLING YOU, JUST AIR WHATEVER THAT FUGITIVE HAS GIVEN YOU, AND YOU BET YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIMILATE WHAT FUGITIVE, SOVEREIGNTY, AND JURISDICTION OR GOVERNMENT, ENTAILS!!! IGNORAMUS AND CRIMINALS ONLY LEARN THE HARWAY, ANYWAY!

    WHY ARE YOU SO DULL NYONBLEE KANGAR LAWRENCE??? ALL YOU KNOW IS VIOLENCE!

    • What fugitive? Actually, George Weah is the criminal if you ask me. Liberians now believe he’s a crook. Henry Costa has never stolen a dime from the Liberian people. Can you say the same for crooked George Weah? Here is a guy who couldn’t pay child support and was broke just a few years ago and all of a sudden has a lot of money to build his real estate empire and live lavishly while Liberians are suffering. Do you think Liberians are not suspicious where he got all his sudden wealth? You guys who benefit from this corrupt government are fucking idiots. Who doesn’t know what goes on in Liberia with that rotten system of justice. They trump up huge charges, make a lot of newspaper headlines and later drop those charges after taking bribes. Come on. No reasonable person takes this government seriously. The country is run by criminals. George Weah is the cause of the suffering going on in the country, not Henry Costa. All talk no progress and you want to find a scapegoat for your failures. Life doesn’t work like that. Liberians know their enemy: It is George Weah and his corrupt officials.

  4. Henry Costa is on record for extorting money from people under the ploy of organizing protests.

    The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia publicly disgraced him Henry Costa for this act of theft or grand larcening , and has since dissociated themselves from Costa and his Cop.

    Ambassador Neufville exited Costa and his CoP as a result of Costa’s using the group for his Costa’s feasting during seasons as Christmas, Easter Holidays, 26th, etc. So, let make no mistake about that, Costa is a rogue.

    FOR EXAMPLE HERE IS A STATEMENT FROM THE ERSTWHILE ALLIES OF THE PORTUGUESE CRIMINAL HENRIQUE PEDRO COSTA.

    “Now, therefore, the EFFL as an independent political institution with a clear goal for Liberia strongly condemn, resist and declare such pronouncement as SEASON HUSTLE by a self-style political advocate, hired-guns.

    The International Community, THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY, World Bank, IMF, MCC, THE UN, EU, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, ETC. have trumpeted their confidence in the integrity, capability, proficiency, trustworthiness, and excellence, of His Excellency President Dr. George Forky Klon Jlaleh Gbah Ku GbehTarpeh Manneh Weah.

    INTEGRITY XRAY OF THE PORTUGUESE THIEF HENRIQUE PEDRO COSTA THE SEASON HUSTLER

    Liberia: Economic Freedom Fighter Rejects Weah Step Down Campaign Oct 2, 2019

    “Now, therefore, the EFFL as an independent political institution with a clear goal for Liberia strongly condemn, resist and declare such pronouncement as SEASON HUSTLE by a self-style political advocate, hired-guns.

    Monrovia – The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), one of the major players in the June 7 Save-the-State protest has drawn a line of demarcation from the Council of Patriots’ recent call for a December 30th Weah Step Down protest.

    In a statement, the EFFL urged Liberians to resist recent pronouncement by the Council of Patriots to stage an unending protest beginning December 30, 2019 calling for the resignation of President Weah as President of the Republic of Liberia; describes such action as “Anti-Democratic and Season Hustle”.

    Reasons for Rejecting Step Down Protest

    The EFFL says on June 25, 2019, it withdrew its support and membership from the COP based on five (5) reasons and up to now still believe that those reasons are sufficient enough to resisting their ‘season hustle’ called protest.

    The EFFL cited among other things, COP’s failure to appropriately exonerate the group from allegations of financial malpractices; Disrespect and Wanton disregard for the people’s popular will; Self-Glorification and Popularity seeking; Failure of the current COP Leadership to step down and COP’s Leadership betrayal of Representative Yekeh Kolubah.

    The EFFL said as a radical and socialist political institution, it is not against a protest because it is one of the key factors in building a strong democracy but is however against self-interest and politically motivated protests that are organized in the name of the masses without direct benefits to the very masses.

    “Fellow Citizens, what has been the COP official position regarding the cancellation of the three (3) days calls service by the government of Liberia through Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)? Is the COP selective on issues because of certain business interest against the ordinary Liberians? These are questions we must ask ourselves and the COP.”

    The EFFL statement added that history has proven that politically motivated protest only benefits the organizers and not the ordinary people-the case with the June 7. “More besides, for the past decades in Africa, no struggle aimed at calling for resignation of a sitting President ended well.”

    The statement continued: “We have witnessed the death of thousands in other African Countries trying to force out a president. Here are few Countries to reference; Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and etc. This people’s sensitive driven revolution-the EFFL has been taught to break the chain of ‘Usual Job Seeking’, ‘Haunt for Quick Cash’ and ‘Power Struggle’ under the canopy of the suffering masses.

    We are reminded everyday by our founding father CIC Julius Malema that violence revolution with the motives of power struggle, job seeking and haunt for quick cash has a bitter ending and we Liberians are not prepared to experiencing such situation in the name of masses struggle.”

    The organization explained that any revolution of such nature must address all these concerns but not limited to and if not addressed as in the case of the COP, consider such pronouncement as self-seeking and anti-democratic.

    “Now, therefore, the EFFL as an independent political institution with a clear goal for Liberia strongly condemn, resist and declare such pronouncement as SEASON HUSTLE by a self-style political advocate, hired-guns. Never should we pre-author our democracy and present our country wrongfully to our friends in Africa and the world.”

    • George Weah is a good person but he’s just not a competent leader, but the Liberian people will have to endure the pain until the next election and they can get rid of him then. No more violence and coups, period. The Liberian people are getting what they paid for as the saying goes. Henry Costa was wrong for trying to force Weah to step down.

      • This is not about the President been a good or bad person. If President Weah weren’ t competent he would not be leading the largest political coalition and party with the largest political following with such an unprecedented and unequalled grassroots acceptance in his home country.

        And Transparency International would not declare that he Dr. Weah’ s administration has achieved the competent and integrity filled mark of far far far less corruption under his presidential leadership than any other President in the history of Liberia.

        If Dr. Weah weren’ t competent The Millennium Challenge Cooperation would hot be declaring that the rule of LAW under President Weah’ s leadership has improved than at anytime in the history of Liberia!

        So, you are just spewing rubbish for spewing rubbish sake after realizing you have ABSOLUTELY no fitting response regarding that Portuguese season hustler who has ended up a fugitive as a result of his cowardice, thievery, and political stupidity.

  5. Read the constitution again! There is an accountability and responsibility clause when it comes to free speech. If a citizen’s free speech incites violence, or has the propensity to incite thereof, he or she will be held liable. Just make sure that your free speech is not detrimental to the well-being of others (even a leader of a nation is held accountable for his or her words). Now you know!

  6. Ladies and gentlemen, please note that James Davis and James Citizen 😂 are two different individuals. James Citizen hardly uses his last name, (Citizen). There could be a logical reason for that. Okay? Whenever you see or come across the name “James”, be prepared to embrace some of the good things he says about Weah. Ironically, some of Weah’s hardcore critics will never say positive things about Weah. Never. Lastly, James Citizen is very astute, but he hardly uses his last name. Not a big deal, however by doing that, Citizen distinguishes himself from James Davis.

    Mr. James Davis is the guy who often forgets to use his own “independent thoughts”…. whatever that means. Lastly, Mr. James Davis is undeniably a hardcore critic of Weah. In a minute, Mr. Davis will tell you that Liberia is a God-forsaken land. (That’s bogus). To make matters worse or enjoyable, Mr. James Davis is the guy who laughs at least 17-20 times in a single minute!

    My concentration focus:
    James Citizen has made quite a number of statements. However, three of those statements do not deserve condemnation, but rather absolute praise.
    Let’s take a listen. Says he,
    1. “George Weah is a good person”,

    2. There “should be no more violence and coups”, (in Liberia) and

    3. “Henry Costa was wrong for trying to force Weah to step down”.

    My buddy and fellow compatriot, James Citizen is a fair-minded guy. The above statements are non-violent or provocative. James admits that Weah is a good person. The implication of James’s statement is that all human beings have positives and negatives. In other words, no one is perfect.

    Second, Citizen is keenly aware of the mess that was caused when Liberia went to war with itself. So, in order for all Liberians to rally around a common cause, Citizen suggests that our internal problems can be solved and resolved if we abstain from violence. You as an individual do not have to kow-tow to Weah. Just be civil. Do not cavil. That’s it!

    As matters relate to Henry Costa, I can’t stress James’s point any further. But I will say this for the record. The days of using force in order to remove an elected leader are over. There’s no need to incite violence through the airwaves. Instead of stirring passion, Costa can create jobs or establish trade schools.

    ☮️

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