Broadcast Amendment Bill will bring clarity and definition to sweeping powers of the unlimited “Jagdeo Act” – PM Nagamootoo amendment also corrects a mischief in regularizing fee structure

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, August 4, 2017

The Broadcast Amendment Bill is in no way an impediment on the media or an imposition on broadcasters Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo assured.

The PM moved the second reading of the Bill during a late night sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said the amendments to the Broadcast Bill of 2011 are necessary to lend clarity to the law and free up broadcasters.

The amended Bills seeks:

  • to introduce three classes of broadcast services: commercial, non-commercial and community broadcast services
  • to introduce three types of broadcasting zones: primary, secondary and tertiary zones
  • to provide for public services programmes
  • the prohibition of programme contents that carry hate speech, appeal to racial sentiments, incitements or terrorist threats.

The amendments, the Prime Minister noted, will limit the “wide and sweeping powers” of the broadcasting authority and place a cap on public service broadcast.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo dismissed the “mischief being peddled” that the Bill will be the death of the freedom of the press. The amendments, he added will bring clarity to what the Prime Minister dubbed the “Jadgeo Act” which was passed in 2011 and assented to by then President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Addressing the cap on public service broadcast, the Prime Minister explained the Broadcast Amendment Bill sought to define public service broadcast and cap the percentage which the 2011 Bill left open ended.

The Broadcast Amendment Bill defines public service broadcast to mean “the broadcast of a programme produced for the purpose of informing and educating the public and promoting policies and activities of the government that benefit the public as a whole”.

The Prime Minister stressed the definition was necessary to differentiate party propaganda and government information. “This government is committed to respecting the tax payers wishes that they be informed (on) what is being done with their monies,” the Prime Minister said.

The amended Bill also outlines how broadcasting agencies will broadcast, gratis, public service programmes for one hour in every 24 hour cycle, between 6:00hrs and 22:00hrs.

The Bill also allows for the broadcasting agency to designate separate time slots for any public announcement which is urgent and of national significance and for reporting such announcement.

“It is precise, it is certain,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo stressed in bringing clarity to amendment.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo added that the amendment also frees up broadcasters with the introduction of zones. “The restructuring of the fee schedule has been done to correct a mischief that emanated under the previous administration,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

In fact, the new fees are a reduction from those outlined in the 2011 Act. This new fee structure is an incentive to broadcasters to utilise the tertiary zones and reduce “squatting on zones”.

Table of the Fees as outlined in the amended Bill

  TELEVISION RADIO CABLE
Annual or renewal fee for licence Same as

the base fee for each zone

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

 

Same as

the base fee for each zone

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

Same as

the base fee for each zone

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

Application processing fee;

application to amend/vary licence

 

 

G$25,000

 

 

G$50,000

 

G$25,000

   

Z
ONE

TELEVISION

R
ADIO
 

CABLE

Primary

Zone

(same fee if granted as an additional zone)

G$1,200,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$2,500,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$1,200,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

Each Secondary

Zone

(same fee if granted as an additional zone)

G$600,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$1,250,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$600,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

Each Tertiary

Zone

(same fee if granted as an additional zone)

G$300,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$625,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

G$300,000 (base fee)

Or

3.5% of gross revenue of the preceding year

whichever is greater

Community

Broadcasting Service

 

 

G$150,000

 

G$150,000

 

Debate on the Bill continues today in the National Assembly.

 

 

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