Gov’t Appeals Against Judge’s Ruling to Restore Punch FM’s License

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberian government has appealed against the decision of Civil Law Court to restore the broadcast license of Punch FM after the station filed for a declarative judgment.

On January 7, Judge Peter Gbenewelleh ruled to restore the rights of Punch FM. The government had denied a broadcast license to the radio station after the management had already paid US$2,900 in license regulation fees.

Punch FM requested a declarative judgment requesting the court to restore its rights in a lawsuit filed in October last year.

Judge Gbenewelleh ordered that the permit earlier issued to Punch FM and later canceled by the government should remain valid.

However, the ruling was met with resistance from lawyers representing the government. The lawyers took exception to the court’s decision and disclosed their plan to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court.

In the appeal filing, the government said the judge made a reversible error because the application filed by Punch FM is a product of deception and misrepresentation, which did not meet the legal requirement.

Government lawyers also argued that the judge erred when he overlooked the fact that the Punch FM perpetrated deception and gross irregularities in the date of the document filed.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, we except to all your honor ruling and decision that made and premised on law issues and hereby presents it Bill of Exception to you and request that your honor will sign and approve to enable us [to] file an appeal to the Supreme Court,” the filing read.

Punch FM filed its lawsuit when the Ministry of Information issued a press release announcing the suspension of all new operating licenses, which affected Punch FM, Spoon FM, and other media institutions. However, Spoon FM continues to operate, while the government continues to review its license. Punch FM’s management described this situation as a violation of their rights.

Judge Gbenewelleh will now review the government’s request for an appeal to determine whether to allow it to move forward.

Featured photo by Miama Morine Pewee

Miama Morine Pewee

Miama Morine Pewee is a senior student at the African Methodist Episcopal University, studying Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Administration. She holds a certificate in Gender Sensitive Reporting, a diploma in Journalism, and an advanced certificate in Computer Science.

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