Bill will correct wrongs which were the norm under previous administration- Minister Greenidge

DPI, Guyana, Friday, August 4, 2017

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, in support of the Broadcast Amendment Bill 2017, said that in most countries such as India, specific times are set aside and certain amounts apportioned for political parties. He noted that the Opposition cited a figure of $35M- an inaccurate one since factors such as staffing, costs and turn over all had to be accounted for. “The attempt at impressing us by virtue of the damage this would have on the entity is not impressive.”

The minister added, “At a maximum of one hour per day, this is mild and conservative, elsewhere it is worse. Freedom of expression constitutes an important part of democracy. In following that principle, one must not behave like we are living in a bubble.”

“The requirement for time is to provide a device to deal with emergency situations for example and we shouldn’t be diverted. You ought to look at what the original statute required and you will see they are quite onerous.” He recalled that previously, the PPP were able to air their propaganda programmes for free, after visits by the GRA and other agencies thus guided to conduct audits and other checks on broadcasting entities.

Of the 25 frequencies granted, some 15 were given to associates of the former President Jagdeo, the minister reminded. He also recalled that a local report on Press Freedom, around 2009, described then President Jagdeo as one who behaved outside of the parameters of what was deemed acceptable.

This bill, he stated, will correct many of the wrongs that previously obtained and will return some order and decency to the local airwaves and television broadcasts.

 

By: Paul McAdam

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