Claim: After my incident, Costa radio station was open from October to December until the January’s protest
Source: Jestina Taylor
Verdict: Misleading, Root FM was not open after Jestina Taylor’s incident.
A local blog, Monrovia Latest News with 37 thousand followers shared a video of Jestina Taylor, claiming that Roots FM, operated by Talk Show host Henry P. Costa, was not shut down because the platform was used to advocate for her (Jestina) rather, due to the December’s protest.
The post generated 3.1k reactions, 935 comments, 1.1k shares, and 121 thousand views when our researcher commenced the check.
In the video (4:50/11:54), Jestina is heard saying, “After my incident, Costa radio station was open from October until December when they organized the protest that took place in January.
When they organized the December protest, everyone within the Council of Patriotic (COP) executive said they could not go through with the protest because it was going to be held around the season, and Costa insisted that he must go through with that protest. It was not that protest that shut down the station.”
She said, “Every day it was Jestina’s business that they closed down Costa Station. it was never my business; you stopped lying… It was December’s protest that brought about the closing of Costa’s station.”
Who is Jestina Taylor?
Jestina, according to reports, allegedly broke away from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
A few days after she was seen in a live video accusing Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson T. Koejii of being a significant figure in the 14 years of civil war in Liberia, Jestina claimed that she was kidnapped by a group of men, gang-raped, and tortured nearly to death.
She was admitted to the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Oldest Congo Town.
However, Jestina was reportedly scheduled to be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia for a possible trip to seek advanced medication in the U.S.
The report had it that after the CDC-led government refused to allow Jestina to leave the country on grounds that she was undergoing investigation, angry citizens staged a protest at the hospital’s junction following a live podcast by Costa on his Roots FM morning show.
In a live SOS call on Roots FM, Costa called on all Liberians to go to the hospital and take Jestina to the embassy for her visa interview.
A few minutes later, hundreds of Liberians gathered on the grounds of the hospital under the name “Operation Save Justina Taylor,” demanding that she be taken for an interview.
The following day of the protest, Jestina was released from St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital by her lawyer and human rights groups.
When did Costa’s Roots FM shut down?
On Thursday, October 10, 2019, heavily armed officers of the Liberia National Police went to the premises of Roots FM 102.7 to effect the closure of the radio station.
After the closure of the station, the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), then comprised of the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress, and All Liberian Parties, on October 13, 2019, threatened to take the George Weah-led government to task for what they referred to as illegal “search, seizure, and shutdown of Roots FM radio station.”
The collaborating political parties called on the government to immediately restore all equipment taken from Roots FM.
The government, through the now-sanctioned solicitor general 2019, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, argued that the station was shut down based on a complaint from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority that the radio station had been operating illegally while at the same time using other frequencies.
Conclusion: After our research, it is fair to say that Roots FM, operated by Costa, was closed on October 10, 2019, a few days after Jestina’s protest, and not in January, as claimed by Jestina.