- but Sierratel denies responsibility
January 15, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Public Relations Officer of Sierratel Telecommunications Company – the statutory body that provides transmitting services for local community radio stations across the country – has denied claims that they have dismantled the receivers of Dr. David Tam-Baryoh’s Citizen FM radio situated at Kissy in the east of Freetown on “orders from above”.
Badamasi Cole said he was not aware of any move by his institution “to deprive a community radio of their normal services”, stressing that it was not in the interest of his company to take such drastic action against a media institution.
“I am not aware of this development; I have even called the general manager’s attention to the situation and he has reemphasized that the company has not embarked on such action. This is news to me,” he said.
However, news had circulated yesterday on various social media outlets – including Facebook and WhatsApp – claiming “sources close to the powers-that-be” had instructed the removal of all radio receivers belonging to Citizen Radio from the Sierratel transmitting site, including those at Leicester Peak.
“The information is that engineers are presently at Leicester Peak dismantling Tam-Baryoh’s receivers. This will mean a broadcast blackout on all radio stations belonging to Tam-Baryoh, especially the thickly settled Monologue Programme which is a thorn in the flesh of certain politicians,” this was the post that went viral on social media yesterday.
In an interview with Concord Times, Dr. Tam-Baryoh said he was aware about the development that some individuals were bent on disconnecting his radio receivers, and that his engineers were summoned to a meeting “to figure out certain issues”.
“Management of Sierratel has invited my engineers to a meeting, the outcome of that meeting will be communicated,” he said.
Newly appointed Chairman of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Ambassador Allieu Kanu, told Concord Times he was not aware of any such development.
“I am just from my office and nobody has informed me about such a move, but I will be very pleased to be well briefed about what is happening,” he said.
Only recently, the popular Monologue presenter was detained at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road in Freetown after broadcasting a programme that was deemed inciting by the government. His travelling documents have been seized by the police thus denying him the chance to seek for medical attention abroad recently.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, for his comment on the issue proved futile.