“It has been deemed necessary to announce to you, esteemed and well respected listeners that your radio, the citizen FM 103.7, radio Kissy will close until further notice” reads a press release signed by Alex James the radio’s station Manager.
The release stated that the management took that decision after a meeting of the board and management.
The release outlined that during the last four weeks, especially after the August 11, 2007 general elections, there have been accusations of dissatisfactions with the radio but that they have found out that those accusations seem to come from politicians who were not happy with the professional way and manner in which they covered the elections, including announcing of the results, regardless of who won or lost.
The release also pointed out that they surrendered to Dr. Christiana Thorpe of NEC, ballot papers brought to their studio on voting day by angry youths who had suspected foul play by some politicians. They stated that they did that because during a previous press conference, Dr Thorpe and her team had denied any knowledge of ballot boxes having been carted away by angry youths in the Muslim Congress secondary school in Kissy, on the day of voting.
“To prove our point, we had to show-case the items, which by law, really belong to the NEC and so we had no reason to continue keeping them since we did not want our detractors to accuse us of anything funny” said the Citizen Radio release.
The press release continued that since that day, they started receiving verbal threats, and sometimes being told of some unethical text messages sent to other radio stations, mainly by agents of such politicians accusing them on flimsy and unsubstantiated grounds.
The release also stated that some political party supporters, under the guise of speaking as civil society leaders, have also ignorantly accused citizen radio of wrong doing without any investigations.
The citizen radio management pointed out that in all of this people will be surprised that on the issues of professional standards, ethics, peace and security of the country, the Independent Media Commission; the body responsible for the regulation of the media in the country has had no case against Radio Citizen and that nobody, or institution has ever made any complaint against them.
The release notes with distress that despite these high professional and national services they have been rendering to Sierra Leoneans, some political supporters continue to threaten their staff and send messages of hate to some radio programs against all of them with the aim of achieving their objectives.
They also pointed out that because they are responsible for some 30 young people and series of neighboring-residents who surround them so it is their duty and responsibility to see these secured and that since the presently the Police are being overstretched they do not deem it necessary to ask for any armed police to secure the community property.
As a result of all the above reasons the radio will remain closed until further notice.