Eight operators of radio and television stations, including the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN), have until month-end to “put their houses in order” or they would be deemed illegal broadcasters, Chairman of the Board of the Guyana Broadcasting Authority (GBA), Bibi Shadick said Tuesday.
STVS Channel 4, The Learning Channel, National Television Network (NTN), Rambarran, WRHM, NCN, Tarzie in Bartica and the governing party-aligned New Guyana Company have been given until October 31 to obtain their licenses. They were among those which had been given approval to continue under the Postal and Telegraph Act until they had prepared the relevant documentation to apply for licences under the Broadcasting Act.
“Without that license, you are committing an offence under the act which offence carries certain penalties,” she said. Those stations have been issued notices on September 24
So far four television and two radio station have been licensed. They are Television Guyana Inc; GWTV Channel 2, Pinnacle Communications Inc. (Alfro Alphonso group) and MTV Inc (associated with the wife of Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud).
The radio stations are Telcor Cultural Broadcasting Inc (also associated with Persaud’s wife) and Radio Guyana Inc.(associated with Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop).
The Chairman of the Board also took the opportunity to highlight that the Region 10 administration has still not applied for a television license. “We don’t have anything to look at so we cannot approve or not approve,’ she said. Similarly, she said, no applications have been received from Stabroek News, Capitol News or Mark Benschop.
At a GNBA Board meeting scheduled for November 8, consideration would be given to 29 new applications- seven for television, 17 for radio, three cable and two IPTV- before yearend. Among the applicants are Kaieteur News for radio and television, Inspire Inc. and the Inter Religious Organisation Inc.
Against the background of limited spectrum, Shadick said priority would be given to applicants who would like to operate in areas that have no service unlike Georgetown where most of the stations are serving. Four of the applicants want to broadcast countrywide.
Shadick said the GNBA would have to eventually consider what to do with licensees who have been allocated frequencies but take a very long time to begin operations.
The GNBA, meanwhile, has begun putting systems in place to establish the authority as distinct from the board.
The National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), whose head is an ex-officio member of the GNBA Board, is responsible for the allocation of frequencies.