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Lookin Inside from Outside

The Wave of Media Closure

Too many things are now characterizing the our governance process in  Liberia – the unclear Sass Town Shooting Bomi Pointy, the hooliganism on Capitol Hill, as well as the media clamp down, among others.

Unfortunately, while the administration should be concentrating the passage of the next budget and other pertinent matters, all attentions are on power-play in the House of Representatives.

Interestingly, the media has become a major extension of such power-play- probably, under the guise of failure to pay taxes.

Using the issue of tax payment as a way of getting at any media institution that attempts to deeply go into the hooliganistic situation among members of the House of Representatives by reporting or discussing the facts surrounding what’s happening at the Capitol is becoming very scaring for many journalists and media institutions.

Right now, most media houses, especially broadcast institutions are even afraid judging from the situation faced by LIB23, which broadcast a secret recording of financial discussions held by anti-Tyler Representatives, as well as subsequent radio discussions. What’s more scaring, especially for Liberia’s emerging democracy and media freedom, is the fear of reporting or broadcasting materials related to the ‘ foolishness’ at the Capitol against the backdrop of being shut down, of course, using government taxation and the legal  framework.

But the credit must actually be given to the print media for the indebt reportage. While are also targets of such action, concentration may not really be on them because not many Liberians read the papers like the radio attracts more listeners. So for now, the radio and television stations are serious targets for closure if they attempt to go deep into the whole Tyler Saga, including its source.

But again, the administration has done a lot towards media tolerance for the last decade to begin creating such unfortunate situation to pollute such legacy. Quite frankly, if one owes another or an institution owes another and refuses to pay, a process of payment is either pursued or court action instated for adherence. In the case of the indebtedness of media institutions to the government (LTA for that matter), the government’s interest must to generate the needed revenue due it, i.e, such institutions must be made to pay the taxes owed the government, and
not the actions taken against these media institutions – whether it is Voice FM, Shata FM, LIB24 or the National Chronicles Newspaper that was first closed by the government using huge number of heavily armed police.

And I think that’s the fear many of these broadcasters are now harboring to really deal with the whole Tyler Saga at the Capitol. But we all must remember that it may not only be the issue currently ongoing in Monrovia, but others may surface in time to come to directly target other radio stations.

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