5 March 2019

Liberia: Another Radio Station Attacked - Unknown Men Put Joy FM Off Air

Monrovia — Joy Fm, a radio station based in central Monrovia, has been put off the air by unknown men who attacked the station Tuesday, destroying the cable of its transmitter.

The station was attacked by about 2 AM while broadcasting its regular late-night show that usually runs to the morning hours, according to the station's CEO and General Manager, Emmanuel Dahn.

Dahn told FrontPage Africa via mobile phone after he posted about the attack on Facebook that there have been "strange movements" of unknown individuals around the premises of the station in recent days.

"The unknown men came and since they had no way of entering the building, I don't know what their plans were but they never had access to the building because we have iron gates all over, so they just went to our tower and cut the cable that runs from the antenna on the tower to the transmitter," he said.

Dahn added that they have no trace of the perpetrators but he described the incident as "a well-organized crime".

"It was not a criminal who came to look for cables, because they didn't take the cable away after cutting it. The intention was to damage the institution," he said.

The extent of damage to the station is unknown but Mr. Dahn said: "We might be off for quite some time because their action might have sent a shock to the transmitter."

He said the police was informed about the incident and have sent investigators on the scene.

The attack against Joy FM, located on New Port Street downtown Monrovia, is the second alleged criminal attack against a radio station in less than a month.

The radio station of popular talk show host Henry Costa was attacked in succession, with the second leading to the stealing of his transmitters.

Costa, an unswervering critic of the Weah-led administration, was furious after the attack and pointed accusing fingers at the government for orchestrating the attacks in order to shut him off.

But Mr. Dahn, whose Joy Fm is also critical against the current administration, says he "doesn't want to accuse anyone" but added that the attack was a probably based on the station's critical stance on national issues.

"Joy Fm is one independent radio station and some times, the way we are vocal and critical on national issues... those who are involved, apparently they don't want us to be here and they are looking for a way to silence the institution," he said.

He said once attacks are directed against the station, it might well be "against our mployees or our very self."

Dahn is now concern about the "safety of media practitioners" in the country and called on President Geroge Weah, who has publically push for the decriminalization of speech, to provide more protection of journalists.

"Let people stop seeing the media as an enemy of the state, because we will not remain silent on issues that affect our society, no! If we should be silent then it's better we close down our radio stations and go down Waterside and od other business."

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