The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

PUL Advises Media Institutions To Regularize Status

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has advised media owners or operators mainly the frequency modulation (FM) radio stations in the country to regularize their status with the government as it will not stand in the way of the law by hiding behind press freedom to defend any institution.
It said it welcomes the announcement made by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), government’s regulatory arm of the sector about the new broadcast fee registration for five years describing same as “good news” for the industry.
PUL’s boss Charles Coffey made these comments when he appeared on the state-owned radio (ELBC) recently on Thursday, 09 January to discuss national issues mostly media related as he enters his final second term of services with the Union.
He warned that media owners or operators’ concerns must comply with the regulations and should not use the Union to hide behind press freedom to defend them because PUL was part of the validation processes along with other stakeholders during the formulation of the regulations.
On Wednesday, 08 January, the LTA issue reminded all owners and operators of FM Radio stations in the country that their licenses expired since Tuesday, December 31, 2019, but urged them to commence registration for licenses renewal.
It said the objective of the new five-year regime is to induce investment in the sector and address frequencies abuse, adding “the extended deadline for the renewal of License for all radio stations is Tuesday, March 31, 2020.”
The process of the new license regime began early 2019 with a moratorium on the issuance of new licenses. New applications are expected to be received beginning on Wednesday, 01 April 2020.
The FM Regulation seeks to ensure the proper management of frequencies available to Liberia and prevent its abuse.
Regulatory findings have indicated that while some radio operators applied to use certain frequencies for non-commercial activities, they are rather using it otherwise.
Additionally, Owners and Operators of FM Radio have been found to be in violation of International Telecommunications Union (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.
The LTA says during the drafting of the new regulation on the new 5-year license regime, it solicited inputs from diverse stakeholders’ whose inputs formed part of the wider stakeholder consultation.
These included consultations with the House Standing Committee on Telecommunications on February 5, 7, and 12, 2019 respectively; 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.
According to the statement, LTA said it also consulted with other stakeholders in Ganta, Nimba County on July 3 – 4, 2019 with support from Internews. It said it also made presentation at a forum organized by the Nimba Community Radio Association with support from Internews.
At the Press Union of Liberia on September 30, 2019 Anniversary Programme in Gbarnga, the LTA says it also used the occasion to receive further inputs from the gathering on the draft FM Regulation.
Meanwhile, Coffey has hailed Media and Police relationship which from the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the two has not been any sourness.
He stated that since the signing no incident of alleged misconduct on both sides as the two are performing their statutory responsibilities in the interest of the state.

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