Liberia: LTA Cautions Radio Stations to Renew Licenses

- Introduces new 5- year license regime

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has reminded owners and operators of FM Radio stations through a press release issued 8 January that their licenses expired since December 31, 2019.

According to the LTA's release, it has introduced a new 5-year license regime that replaces the traditional one-year license regime.The release notes that the objective of the new five-year regime is to induce investment in the sector and address frequencies abuse.

It notes that the extended deadline for the renewal of license for all radio stations is March 31, 2020. According to the LTA, the process of the new license regime began early 2019 with a moratorium on the issuance of new licenses.

It notes that new applications will be received beginning April 1, 2019.

During the drafting of the new regulation on the new 5-year license regime, LTA says it solicited inputs from diverse stakeholders. These inputs were part of the wider stakeholder consultation and included the following:

1. LTA consulted with the House Standing Committee on Telecommunications on February 5, 7, and 12, 2019 respectively; 2. LTA consulted with all FM Radio Operators, the Press Union of Liberia and other stakeholders with support of its partner- the Internews on March 8 and April 4, 2019 at Bella Cassa Hotel in Monrovia.

3. LTA also consulted with other stakeholders in Ganta, Nimba County on July 3 - 4, 2019 with support from Internews.4. LTA also made presentation at a forum organized by the Nimba Community Radio Association with support from Internews.

5. At PUL September 30, 2019 anniversary Program in Gbarngba, LTA also used the occasion to receive further inputs from the gathering on the draft FM Regulation.The FM Regulation seeks to ensure the proper management of frequencies available to Liberia and prevent its abuse.

The LTA adds that regulatory findings have indicated that while some radio operators applied to use certain frequencies for non-commercial activities, they are rather using [them] otherwise.

Additionally, it says owners and operators of FM Radio have been found to be in violation of ITU recommended technical standards and without adherence to LTA regulations.

The 5-year license under the new FM Regulations seeks to address all issues of compliance, sustainability and efficiency to enhance governance, operations and management of the sector.--Press release

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