Sierra Leone: Two radio stripped of their licences by the Independent Media Commission


Two Sierra Leonean radio stations have been stripped of their licences. The national regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), says the stations failed to comply with the country's media code.

The IMC announced the withdrawal of the licenses of Radio Unity which belongs to the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), and Radio Rising Sun, owned by the ruling All People's Congress (APC) on Jul. 7.

A statement from the media regulator reads: "Notwithstanding the provisions of the Media Code of Practice and the IMC Act relevant to the suspension of radio stations, and despite efforts by the Commission to get the two political radio stations to comply with the media code, without success, the Commission is regrettably left with no option but to withdraw their licenses with immediate effect."

Both stations were established in the run-up to the 2007 general and presidential elections. However, since the elections, the political party mouthpieces are seen by many to have broadcast inflammatory information which has triggered political clashes.

For instance, just before they were suspended, Rising Sun broadcast messages claiming the SLPP had mobilised former militia fighters at its Freetown office to unleash terror on city residents. The outcome of that broadcast was an attack on the SLPP office where people got injured and property destroyed.

Inter Press Services