“GOL’s ‘Prior Restraint’ on Costa Not Necessary”

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Henry P. Costa

— Veteran journalists warn

Frank Sainworla and Philip N. Wesseh, two well experienced, respected and veteran Liberian journalists, have frowned on the Liberian government for placing a “Prior Restraint” on Henry Costa for his proposal to relay his talk show, the ‘Costa Show’, on Radio Bushrod (D-15 FM) in Monrovia. Philip Wesseh is the Publisher of The Inquirer newspaper, while Frank Sainworla is the Publisher of News Public Trust, an online news outlet.

On the ‘OK FM Morning Rush,’ a hugely followed early morning talk show, Sainworla and Wesseh said that government should have acted through quiet diplomacy rather than coming to the public through a press statement from the Ministry of Information.

“Gov’t has raised the bar on Costa unnecessarily. In media law and ethics, they did what we call prior restraint,” the two journalists and publishers said collectively.

“Costa has planned to do his show on a radio station here in Monrovia, even though he is in America, he is not a journalist and as such whatever he says must be sanctioned by that radio station instead of government threatening the station,” Sainworla said.

He said the government’s concern about Costa’s style of broadcast may be legitimate, “most especially when it comes to hate speech and vulgarism (insults) on leaders,” but that is not sufficient ground to deny him from being heard.

“Costa started something that has spread like cancer. Bad taste of radio broadcast but why is the government not also going after Sekou Sheriff who was at Freedom FM? In fact, I am told that some big hands have given him huge support that led to the establishment of a new radio station called Voice of Liberia (VOL),” Mr. Sainworla added.

Sainworla recalled that the former ruling Unity Party (UP) made the same mistake by threatening media entities and closing down a few of them simply because of the critical voices that were heard on them.

“Former President Sirleaf made the same mistake. Under her watch and by her approval, the National Chronicle Newspaper was shut down. Its publisher, Philibert Browne, was harassed and even arrested and intimidated by state security,” Mr. Sainworla recalled.

“CDCians, who were by then in opposition opposed Sirleaf’s action. They stood by Costa when he was once arrested and taken to jail. Those in power today frowned on Ellen and called for the establishment of a war crimes court so that those who committed atrocities in the country and are here passing around could be tried. Sadly, they are no longer interested in executing what they wished to have seen happen in the past,” he said.

Philip N. Wesseh, publisher of The Inquirer Newspaper, said the Weah administration is dismally performing in its public affairs and communication strategies.

“This government is lucky. They have a whole media empire but it is a sad thing that they struggle with ideas to handle many public information and activities without the need for the kinds of reactions they are experiencing,” Wesseh said.

He said the Weah led government needs to work on its strategies, coordination, cooperation and collaboration as it engages the public with its actions, decisions and plans.

Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, phoning in, said the Ministry of Information has up to Thursday, January 21, 2021 to give concrete reasons why Costa should not be allowed to air his program on Radio Bushrod (D-15).

Dillon, who is the chairman of the Board of Directors for Radio Bushrod, said his station has entered into an agreement with Costa not to insult or cause chaos.

“They say he is a fugitive but there are no court records showing that he was indicted. But even if we were to agree that indeed he was indicted for whatsoever, his right to the freedom of expression cannot be restrained as the government is proceeding,” he said.

Meanwhile, Eugene Fahngon, Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, said rain or shine, Henry Costa will be brought to justice the moment he returns to Liberia.

“We are not discussing the vulgarity. We all know that Costa can cuss. He did same during Ellen [Sirleaf’s] time and now. That’s not the issue. Costa was still in the confines of the law and preliminary investigation was still ongoing when he ran away from the country,” Fahngon said.

“His lawyer signed for him and promised to bring him back the next day, but he fled the country and went to Sierra Leone and created the impression that if he had come back, he could have been killed. He is a fugitive because he has escaped from answering to the law.”

Fahngon added: “Even if Costa flies a 747 jet and his shirt tail comes within the airspace of Liberia, we will get him.”

He warned that any attempt by Radio Bushrod to host Costa as a talk show host will lead to the immediate closure of the station.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Frank Sainworla and Philip N. Wisseh are ranting out of ignorance and idiocy. Hence,

    (1) they do not know that while anyone including journalists or news outlets physically present within the territorial jurisdiction and are legally protected from prior restraint since they can be prosecuted for abuse of their rights to free speech etc., A FUGITIVE

    (2) HAVING VIOLATED THE RESPONSIBLE FOR ABUSE CLAUSE IN ARTICLE 15 OF THE CONSTITUTION AND OUT OF THE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE GIVEN COUNTRY, IPSO FACTO, ENJOYS AUTOMATIC ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION. Therefore,

    (3) let the word go forth from this time and place that the protection from prior restraint IS NOT absolute; as compelling circumstances are, and MUST be, taken into account, as is the case with this Henrique Pedro Costa the Portuguese season hustler, hired gun, and FUGITIVE!

    • The government is afraid of Costa but Costa is not the government’s problem. The problem in Liberia today are: Bad economy, poor leadership, high unemployment, high crime rate, poverty, and the list goes on. The recent election loses by CDC supports my argument. So you guys need to get to work and solve the economic problems facing the country or else George Weah will not be re-elected come 2023.

      • You reason very poorly. So according to that empty can on your shoulder, Costa’s erstwhile allies and fellow members of his rag tag CoP who while dissociating themselves from him Costa the Portuguese boy, labeled him COSTA as A SEASON HUSTLER, a self-style political advocate, and a hired-gun, because they were afraid of him Costa?

        With the exception of his benefactors as Benoni Urey, that high school drop out Dillon, that indiscipline corrupt and violent Nyonblee Karngar who only interest in him is to use him for their criminal and hidden agenda, no decent person wants to deal with that Portuguese criminal. This is why Washington told him Costa, Dillon, and that other clown James Larsah, that “Washington cannot deal with people known for terroristic HIDDEN AGENDA“.

        So, you reason very poorly just as that Portuguese fugitive. THAT FOOL IS FINISHED. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THAT STUPID “ULTIMATUM“? Bunch of ignoramus believing an “agreement“ reached with a fugitive can ever be respected, not to talk about accepted anywhere in the world. Dillon is really a dullard.

  2. High school drop out Dillon, as for you, as far as we are concerned, your ignoramus character and idiotic nature of the subject matter is expectedly the obvious. And this is why we addressed the rants of Frank and Philip, since as professional journalists and even an attorney (Philip) at that, we expected them to be well grounded in the epistemological and ontological raison d’etre of the concepts of indictment and or prior restraint.

    But surprisingly (though not actually surprising), we have found out that they are as dumb as you are in these matters on a fugitive and the concept of prior restraint.

    So,

    (1) your stupidity that because a news outlet may have had “an agreement“ with a fugitive, THAT FUGITIVE should be immune from the dictates of the domestic and international legal principle of THE PROTECTIVE PRINCIPLE under which a State assumes jurisdiction over ANYONE for acts done abroad but which affects the Constitution of a country( Liberia in this case viz a fugitive), simply

    (2) confirms your been a high school drop out UNFIT TO BE A LAWMAKER!

    • The primary mission of the government is to improve the lives of Liberians. Do you think this government is doing that when you spend all your time attacking Henry Costa? You guys are not focused at all. People are really suffering across the country and nothing is being done to improve the situation. When I talk to folks back home, they have nothing good to say about the government, and these are young people who voted for Weah. So, this government is in big political trouble. All the government talks about is printing more money but it’s not a viable solution because every time the government prints more money, it disappears. If you want to force hoarders to return their cash to the banks, change the currency like India did few years ago. But I guess the government won’t do that because top government officials are the ones hoarding billions of LDs. You guys are not a serious bunch. All cheap talk.

  3. As we said earlier on, you must be another cheerleader of the for the highest bidder media kato receivers whose understanding is that once an individual debunks the recklessness of a useless Portuguese season hustler who is a tool and a fool for the opposition power money seeking hypocrites, that person debunking such tool and fool, and his benefactors the power money seeking hypocrites, then that person doing the debunking is an official of government or working within government. What a disposition of not seeing beyond one’s nose!

    Now go and check out one of the most renown news outlets on the Continent of Africa, and in fact in the post modern world FRONTPAGEAFRICA, after reading the below disseminations on Liberia today…

    The below culled from frontpageafricaonline
    THE INSTALLATION of street lights along Tubman Boulevard cannot be left unnoticed. This is the first post-war long stretch of street lights in the capital, Monrovia. At 173 years, the topic of street lights must not be any big news, sadly, this has never been a priority until the Weah-led administration, hence, a reason to celebrate.

    Liberia: Monrovia is Getting Bright, Thanks to The Special Presidential Streetlight Project FPA Jan 19, 2021

    STREET LIGHTING provides a number of important benefits. It can be used to promote night time security and to increase the quality of life by artificially extending the hours in which it is light so that activities can take place. Street lighting also improves safety for drivers, riders, and pedestrians.

    Liberia: Liberia Less Corrupt Under Weah-led Government Aug 25, 2020

    MONROVIA – The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has drawn up a comparison from data attained from Transparency International’s 10th Global Corruption Barometer capturing the corruption index of 2019 which shows that corruption in Liberia was minimized in 2019 compared to its soaring heights in 2015
    when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President.

    New Millennium Challenge Compact Scorecard Shows Improvement in Rule of Law in Liberia

    MONROVIA – Liberia has made improvements in the ensuring rule of law and gender in economy, according to the new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard expected to be released on Monday.

    The MCC Compacts are based on the principle that the U.S. assistance is more effective in countries that have adopted policies promoting an environment for economic growth and poverty reduction. Every year, MCC publishes scorecards for all candidate countries, including countries such as Liberia with already signed, ongoing compacts. The scorecard assesses performance in three policy categories: ruling justly, investing in people, and encouraging economic freedom. CULLED FROM FRONTPAGEAFRICAONLINE

  4. That’s right, James. “Top government officials are the ones hoarding billions of LDs”.

    If your findings are correct, I condemn the situation. It makes no sense for any government official to squander money like that.

    James, a few years before EJS stepped down from the presidency, a lot of unpatriotic Liberians were clamouring for the use of Liberia’s own money. Whereas the uncivil war had just ended, and whereas we would have been comfortable economically by using the US dollar for a period of time….(I promise not forever) the nightriders couldn’t wait.

    If we had continue to use the US dollar for a while, we would have been in a better position today. I heard a lot of diaspora Liberians say, “if Ghana has its own money, why not us”? Sometimes “people” in Liberia make the decisions, not the leaders! See what we’ve got today? A mess.

    We certainly need changes in the government. Weah has to shake off some people and policies of the past in order for us to move on.

    I consider the salaries of lawmakers and government officials a wrong policy. It doesn’t really look like a policy, but it has become a kind of a policy. Earning $15,000 per month in a dirt poor country by one lawmaker is outrageous. You add a Minister’s salary to that, you’ll have a double whammy!

    Changes are needed. Unfortunately, some people are blaming one person.

  5. CDC, you created your Monster, tame it, you praised this uncouth gentleman for insulting EJS for years, now he is giving you a taste of your medicine.

  6. Gbada, you bet we have not only tamed him. We have now CAGED HIM for a very long long time, during which he shall have become sober and disciplined. Small boy can run but he cannot hide! By the time we are done with him, his only hope will be to return to his Portuguese village.

    • Stupidity is what you are, but it is not a surprise that you call a Liberian born from the Kpelleh speaking tribe a Portuguese. Thanks, True Nationalist for your well seasoned research and as educated and well-seasoned you claim to be, please make it your duty as a letter man to provide factual facts.

  7. Gbada J. Flomo

    Yes Sir, while Ellen was in office, I often heard many people say the level of insults and disrespect that were hurled on her and the Liberian womanhood in general was startling and never before had such being experienced by any previous Liberian president in the history of the country.

    Weah’s CDC often planned and executed the profaning of Ellen. I wonder have GOL’s spoke persons forgotten the days of CDC supporters wearing panties laden with red cool aid water signifying Ellen’s or other respectable Liberian women’s under clothes? Have they forgotten the toting of coffins signifying the murders of Unity Party’s operatives?

    The CDC’s electoral tone and the way she conducted herself during the campaign was enough to spark election violence or even cause the assassination of Ellen, but she took all that occur with great stride.

    To make an analogy: At the height of the former boxer, Mike Tyson, the story is circulated that he was so powerful and swift that he would defeat his opponents with the strike of his deadly right fist in just split seconds. Then came a time, when another boxer, Evander Holyfield, threw his hat in the world heavy weight boxing ring. And as history may recall, during Mike Tyson’s first encounter against Holyfield, he bit a sizable portion of his ear off as he could not stand the sting of his punches. So, here is the moral of the story: If you cannot stand the punches, then don’t punch other people. Simply, leave the ring!

    The CDC loves to throw jabs, but in the same token, is afraid of reciprocity. That is not the way things work in the political arena especially a democracy though.

  8. Why are Mr. George Manneh Tarpeh Weah and his CDC-led Government aimlessly so busy running after Henry Petro Costa and awarding Mr. Costa the stage and followers he does not need and deserve? There are so many problems facing Liberia and its people that Mr. Weah and his CDC-led Government could be most concerned with and not Mr. Henry Petro Costa. Mr. Weah and his CDC-led Government need to revisit their defeat and disgrace on December 8, 2020, and determine what works then troublingly propagating and promoting Henry Petro Costa. Why unnecessarily stop Henry Petro Costa from expressing his views no matter how offensive and unacceptable those views may appear to Mr. George Manneh Tarpeh Weah and his CDC-led Government. Let Mr. Weah and his Government indict, arrest, and prosecute financial and economic crimes that are robbing Liberia and its people of their development and growth. Let Mr. Weah and his Government revisit the countless General Auditing Commission Reports, indict, arrest and actively prosecute officials and former officials charged in those reports. Above all else, he and his Government need to put Liberia first. Pointlessly running after Henry Petro Costa, is not helpful to Liberia and its residents.

  9. You dullard Frederick Jayweh, FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS A NON ISSUE HERE!

    Now, as usual, you will always present yourself THE PHONY YOU ARE. Hence, like the layman you are, YOU ARE intellectually unable to articulate what THE ISSUES ARE!

    The issues ARE..

    (1) WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE INFIDELIOUS OR VIOLATIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION BY AIDING AND ABETTING A FUGITIVE OR IN SHORT, OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE BY..

    (2) the government permitting that radio station or any radio station to host the fugitives program, would not the very government be betraying the laws of the land, setting a dangerous precedence, and IPSO FACTO CONCEALING OR AIDING AND ABETTING THE FUGITIVE, AND ALSO PREVENTING THE APPREHENSION OF THE FUGITIVE? AND..

    (3) By the government allowing a fugitive and that radio station or any other radio station host the program of the fugitive within Liberias territorial and extraterritorial jurisdiction, would not the very government be conducting itself UNDER INCHOATE OFFENSES as a principal in both the first and second degrees, and also an accessory before the fact and after the fact viz the flouting of the law and the offenses and violations of the FUGITIVE?

    You dull little Bassa boy, to the three issues, should the government listen to the stupidity from dullards like you and those other DULLARDS calling themselves “former media executives“, this government would be in a nutshell, violating the constitution and flouting statutory laws by concealing and aiding A FUGITIVE, while at the same time, ENGAGING IN THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE!

    THAT PORTUGUESE FUGITIVE SHOULD GO BACK TO HIS PORTUGUESE VILLAGE AS A RETURNEE! BUT AS FAR AS LIBERIA IS CONCERNED HENRIQUE PEDRO COSTA THE PORTTUGUSE EXTORTIONIST IS A FUGITIVE!

  10. And dull boy Frederick Jayweh DOES NOT have the epistemological wherewithal to “fire back“ an effective and convincing counter to the rebuttal of any of “President Weah’s paid or unpaid agents“ if we may remind you of your stupidity here in the immediate aforementioned quotation!

    You little dullard, your response to the ontological equilibrium of my DIDACTIC REBUTTAL to your foolishness that the GOL should become an accomplice, aider, accessory before and after the fact, and also one of the principals in the first and second degrees in the obstruction of justice, confirms your stupidity in the discipline of law in general, and under criminal law and its processes in particular.

    You know, Frederick, to be perfectly honest with you, yes you and I are aware that I am more educated and more informed than you in the discipline of law! But little did I ever envisage that you have absolutely no idea as to what constitutes the INTENT TO PREVENT THE APPREHENSION OF A FUGITIVE VIS A VIS CONCEALING OR AIDING A FUGITIVE…criminal violations and criminal offenses you claiming to be a lawyer, expects a sovereign government to commit! MY GOD!

    As for those bastards, opportunists, and stooges, as Isaac Bantu, Emmanuel Abalo, and Gabriel Williams, or even Philip Wisseh and Frank Sainaworla, of course I do not expect them to have any actual knowledge about offenses against the sovereign, public peace, the maintenance of social and governmental order, and the administration of justice, most especially on A MATTER CENTERED ON THE NOTORIOUS EXTORTIONIST HENRIQUE PEDRO COSTA THE PORTUGUESE FUGITIVE.

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