As Supreme Court reaffirms Lower Court’s Ruling, Punch FM Case Free to Operate

As Supreme Court reaffirms Lower Court’s Ruling, Punch FM Case Free to Operate Featured

At long last, the Supreme Court of Liberia, which is regarded as the final arbiter of justice in the country, has affirmed the Civil Law Court ‘A’ Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh’s ruling in restoring the rights of One Media Incorporated, Punch FM 106.3.

This come as a result of the Government of Liberia(GoL), through the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism(MICAT) Petition of Declaratory Judgement filed before the Honorable Supreme Court.

A Declaratory Judgment is a request to a court by a party in a case requesting the court to restore its rights.

Handling down the ruling on Monday, September 26, 2022, Justice Sie-A- Nyene G. Youh said though the Executive Law Rev. Code 12:31 grants MICAT the right regulate the Fourth Estate, which is the media yet violated the constitutional rights of Punch FM thru its Manager Patrick Honnah.

"The Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism violated Punch FM Constitution rights to due process when it suspended Punch FM License without conducting a hearing," Justice Youh said.

She continued, ‘‘That the continued closure of One Media Incorporated- Punch FM premise without any justifiable reason violates the Punch FM rights in many respects."

She added that the trial court properly assumed jurisdiction over the petition for the Declaratory Judgment and declared the right to operate Punch FM under the license granted by MICAT.

‘‘The Clerk of this Court is hereby ordered to send a mandate to the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court commanding the Judge presiding therein to resume jurisdiction over the case and give effect to the Judge," Justice Youh further instructed.
It can be recalled that in 2018, Punch FM’s license was revoked after the GoL, through MICAT, announced that a review of the regulatory regime of media operating licenses and authorization due to technical and administrative irregularities.

The GoL named the duplication of frequencies to radio and television operators and incorrect designations of submissions as some of the issues that would have been reviewed.

Since the government announced that it was suspending all new operating licenses and authorization it had issued to media operators between January1-June 2018, Punch FM was left in limbo.

The management had argued all along that it provided all the legal documents to the Liberia Telecommunication Authority(LTA) and MICAT prior to the announcement by Government.

Based upon that on October 15, 2019, the Management of Punch FM filed a 13- count Petition for Declaratory Judgement against MICAT by and through its then Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe, requesting the court to restore its right to operate in the country.
Judge Gbeneweleh ruled that the permit granted the Management of Punch FM January 10, 2018 to operate was valid.

According to him, the court perceives no deception and misrepresentation under the fact and circumstances in this case, and that the permit granted the petitioner on January 10, 2018 is valid.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of One Media Inc., Patrick Honnah, told reporters that the Court’s decision was something that he knew well. Thanking the Liberians for the constant support during such. Process and standing with him.
Mr. Honnah stated that the case will be used for others as a case study, asserting that, ‘‘Never use power to come after people including any political party that a person e is part of because anybody can be in trapped,” he renowned Liberia Broadcast Journalist, saying he will sue the Government of Liberia for damages for holding his business operations for four years with any justifiably reasons.’’
However, he assured the public of top quality broadcasting soon, especially the coming elections, which are a year ahead.


Read 1566 times Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2022 07:37
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Login to post comments