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Proposed amendments to Broadcasting Act will violate free expression- Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday warned that amendments to Guyana’s Broadcasting Act could result in the closure of several radio and television stations and would certainly see government taking away airtime from all stations under the guise of “public service programmes”.

Jagdeo railed that government has moved to turn propaganda content into “public service programmes” and urged the private broadcasters to challenge the amendments in the High Court. “This is an expropriation of property and the time that private stations have, that the State under the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) never sought to impose,” said Jagdeo under whose administration advertisements t0 the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper had been withdrawn and the privately-owned CNS TV6 television station had been closed because of the repeated airing of offensive content..

The former President issued a veiled objection to government’s legal definition of public service broadcast as content produced for the purpose of educating, informing and promoting policies and programmes. He said if broadcasters believe that the content is partisan, they have 24 hours to complain to the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority within which the authority will decide whether the government should pay. “It doesn’t say you can’t carry it. You just have to pay for it so automatically the government gets your time whether it is a public service broadcast for free,” he said.

Warning that “this is the beginning of government propaganda to all parts of the country,” he said the Bill would change the media landscape in an unbelievable manner to the detriment of press freedom.

The Bill states that radio and television stations must dedicate 60 minutes daily  free of cost between 6 AM and 10 PM. The 60 minutes are for the President’s addresses to the Nation, emergency notice or disaster warning issued by the Civil Defence Commission, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service, the Minister of Public Health and the Guyana government generally or any other authorised agency.

Jagdeo said he was troubled that broadcasters could be denied licences through new regulations and that could result in the expropriation of property.

The amendments to the Broadcasting Act, which now make the regulations and  additional sections part of the principal Act, states that existing radio and television stations could be closed and their equipment seized if they do not apply for and are granted new licenses within 30 days of parliament’s approval of those amendments.

Guyana currently has 11 radio stations and 19 television stations, including those operated by the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN)

The proposed amendments state that anyone who does not apply within 30 days or if a licence is not granted,  “he shall immediately cease to carry on the broadcasting service”. Failing to do so could result in a GYD$1 million fine and seizure of the equipment.

“All machinery and equipment used, or which can be used, for broadcasting and owned by or in the possession of, the person concerned is liable to be forfeited; but property not owned by such person shall not be forfeited unless the court is satisfied that the owner of the property knew or ought to have, with reasonable diligence, know that the person convicted had no licence to carry on broadcasting service,” states the Bill.

Sources said less than six broadcast licence applications have fulfilled all the criteria.

  • Gtloyal

    The “… PPP (People’s Progressive Party) never sought to impose ….” True. They never “sought” to. They imposed. Period. Having laws seemed detrimental to their cause then and now.
    Jagdeo, as president, ignored the law and gave the airways to family and friends to broadcast his propaganda and no one dared say anything. To him that was fair and he never saw it as an act that sought to “… change the media landscape in an unbelievable manner to the detriment of press freedom” but instead as his “public service broadcast”, astutely guaranteeing that all would be on his side.
    Preferring an ignorant and uneducated population, he calls the opportunity to educate and have an informed population through national television coverage “… the beginning of government propaganda to all parts of the country ….”
    What an obvious manifestation of total disdain for the people!
    And to think that this is the guy who wants to rule this nation again.

    • Col123

      Gt..That’s a high pulpit you are on…must be an attraction for “the ignorant and uneducated population”.. Lucky you… for having the wisdom and intellect!

      • Gtloyal

        The nature of your comment proves me right. If you don’t know what to say, just be quiet. Thank you. Have a nice day.

        • Col123

          Yea .. you are right.. you know who are those ” ignorant and uneducated population “

          • Gtloyal

            Like you, if we can believe your posts, most of those who received a good education (thanks to Burnham’s free education effort, of course), left years ago. The youthful majority here never had such an opportunity. You know why.

          • Col123

            No .. I don’t know why…” those youthful majority here never had…opportunity”. I have young nieces and nephews, cousins and know of others who are UG graduates…

  • Col123

    That little weasel seems to have a bunch of alyou giddy as he prance around his mansion at Pradoville…It is fun to watch the morbid hatred and envy that you extend to those you deemed as “self destructive …supporters”.and ..”weaselettes”..Have to admit that an investment in high blood pressure medications stocks will be worth it, as one can safely predict the epidemic of essential hypertension, this weasel is dishing out to alyou…

  • Col123

    JP.. credit to you for taking the time for them lil history…Do you really think we black folks give a chit?… we in powa… you can vote FUHCUP all you want … we deh in powa now fuh thy kingdom come!

    • jp

      First and foremost no way on my comment have I made a racist remark I am fully aware that Guyana is a land of six race of people I will Court of onset one people one nation one destiny I’m not an Indian I’m not black man I’m not a Chinaman and not an amerindian I’m not a white man not Portuguese I’m a Guyanese first and foremost so when you want to bring your racist topic there is all six race that is existing in Guyana in my family so when you say black men in power and you’re not come out we put you in there we will remove you you will come up in your own power are you will be carried out I hope that is very clear to you when you can talk when you going to talk top from an educated point of you I don’t know how old you are and frankly I really don’t care but it doesn’t seems like you had experience life under the PNC you experience the good life and the PPP that’s why you should took my advice and go educate yourself a little and don’t come on here with racists topic we already have enough of that in Guyana now if I’m wrong correct me what’s Guyana not doing good and that a PPP Administration don’t get me wrong when one is wrong I will tell me wrong when he’s right I will tell him he’s right the PPP has done better for Guyanese and Guyana in 23 years then what the PNC did in 28 years now the PNC AFC empower the ticket country with a striving economy forward in less than three years that country has a standstill economy moving backward so let me point out a little something here to you it’s not about black men in power it’s not about cooling man in power it’s about who can do the job and do the job good where we are not going to say we were third world country where is South American poor country there is corruption is every level in every political party in Guyana and throughout the world let me point out something else to you when you going to talk about call Indian and black man cuz I know that what you’re referring to imma show you too country Africa and India you tell me which one got the best economy and which one is on the world stage animal left you to think about that so next time speak from a educated point of view not a race point of view it doesn’t matter if a black man run Guyana doesn’t matter if a Collie Man run Guyana doesn’t matter if a Chinaman run Guyana doesn’t matter who run Guyana do the job and do it well by putting Guyanese first Guyanese economy first Guyanese husband wife kids grandkids and future grandkids and the future president of Guyana first right now this Administration doesn’t have a future for Guyana that does not have a vision for Guyana this is incompetent inconsiderate Administration for Guyana citizen they should be a vote of no confidence so please do me a favor when you can speak like that it looks like you only have a preschool education educate yourself and stop bringing a way for people like you is who divide Us in Guyana we do not need a divided Guyana we need a unify Guyana I rest my case missed call one two three

      • Col123

        Couldn’t read it all… but I am older than you and was enthnically cleansed from Guyana

  • Col123

    Vic… I could care less about your vote… the 80% of working stiffs should be our concern… Burnham is dead … good for him

  • Col123

    Well… them both mekking you giddy…

  • Danny Persaud

    Mr BJ is a champion,you pnc goons love ur wicked janjat politics…

  • jp

    You’re right the pppc is not good for every guy needs however not only the former president Jack Vale has benefit from Guyana but please answer me this question what did the PNC did with Guyana for 28 years and the PNC regime how many of you remember rice flour how many of you remember unable to find a can of sardines a chocolate bar in the store Apple on the street corner apples on the street corner grapes in the street corner selling in the market can anyone of you please tell me how many If you experience this under the PNC regime for 28 years none it was no apple it was no grapes there was no sardine there was no chocolate bar in the store I grow up and Guyana under that regime all you 20 and 30 years old one here running up your mouth obviously you experience the good life and the PPP but now I would like for y’all to tell me how you like the good life now you see the difference is and running a country is having an educated economist who can look ahead and has a future who has plans to move the country forward with the will and the ability can you show me any one like that in this party in the PNC party I dare you to they took a country with a striving economy and now 2 years plus in 3 years we have a country with a standstill economy and once again where the poorest country and South America we are poorer than Haiti once again thanks to Grainger nagamootoo Harmon and the rest of the incompetent Administration I think that deserve a vote of no confidence in this government

  • jp

    I invite you to go and look at the Declassified documents on Guyana if you really believe Burnham was the true president of Guyana then why the United I don’t know how to run the country but they were afraid of that the cheddi jagan to be in power because the United States and the British was afraid that Dr cheddi jagan was going to invite the Russian in the Guyana Guyana was going to become a communist country so please understand president Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham did not have the qualification to run Guyana are they know how he was back and bankroll by the United States

  • Col123

    Congratulations to you and your daughter!.. Makes me proud!.. I have gotten past Guyana along time ago…there has been and will always be divisions in Guyana…

    • jp

      And believe me sir I do appreciate that because we do have brilliant Guyanese throughout the world who cannot prosper in their Homeland because of our government inability to maintain brilliant people in brilliant mind in Guyana however if cannot uplift your fellow Guyanese please understand my issue was with when you calling them stupid that’s my problem if you cannot uplift don’t denounce thank you for the congratulations but my daughter did all that by herself strong-minded brilliant Young well she said it she’s a Guyanese even though I remind her she’s born here she always tell people she’s Guyanese so I see it’s the principle of way you raise your kids never forget where their parent come from and she have never done that she went back home several times and she loved Guyana but thanks again please love and unity keep the great job up