October 20, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The High Court yesterday began hearing a motion filed by popular broadcaster, Dr. David Tam-Baryoh, against the Independent Media Commission (IMC), chaired by Ambassador Allieu Kanu.
Both Dr. Tam-Baryoh and Ambassador Kanu were in court to witness the maiden hearing of the matter, presided over by Judge Musu D. Kamara.
The journalist took the media regulatory body to court after his ‘Monologue programme’ was suspended indefinitely in August this year, following comments he made about the 100 buses purchased from China, which generated a lot of controversy about their quality and unit price.
A press release issued by the commission in August stated that the decision to suspend the ‘Monologue programme’ was taken at a board meeting held on Tuesday, 25 August, 2015 where it was agreed to set up a special committee comprising IMC commissioners and representatives from other institutions to investigate key issues contained in the broadcasts that the commission considers a breach of national peace and security, inciting violence and public disorder, among other claims.
After the investigations, the media regulatory body fined the presenter Le500,000, which he has paid.
However, his legal team, including Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai and D. Johnson, stated in their originating notice of motion that the court should declare the action of the IMC illegal on the grounds that the suspension of the ‘Monologue programme’ was illegal and has no basis in law.
Abdulai also claimed that the procedure followed by the media regulatory body to indefinitely suspend his client’s radio show was “incorrect and illegal”, and one that violates the principles of natural justice, thus requesting the judge to grant an interim injunction against the respondent in respect of the suspension of his radio programme.
But the proceeding had to be adjourned until 22 October at the request of both parties.
The commission was represented by A.S. Sesay and V. Koroma.