GNBA denies claims of political interference

─ broadcasting agencies upbraided for infractions against Broadcasting Act

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) has taken a stand against allegations by two broadcasting agencies, that they were being targeted by the entity because of political interference.

The entity’s chairman Leslie Sobers today said Freedom Radio and MTV channel 65 were recently summoned by the authority to give account for their breach of Section 28 of the Broadcasting Act.

While Freedom Radio, operated by the opposition PPP, was required to pay a $75,000 fine, MTV was warned about the infraction.

According to the GNBA chairman, the Leader of the Opposition claimed that the $75,000.00 fine by Freedom Radio was for a “charlatan” comment about the Head of State. This, Sobers said is “wickedly false, maliciously deceptive, designed to mislead the nation and tarnish the principled stand of the Broadcasting Authority.”

Between January 2019 and September 2019, Sobers said Freedom Radio committed a total of 26 infractions. Freedom Radio was called in before and simply encouraged to refrain.  MTV, on the other hand, carried out 27 infractions.

Sobers said while the GNBA has no intention of targeting any broadcaster that is sympathetic or has affiliations with the political opposition, they must take responsibility for the content of their programmes.

As it relates to MTV, Sobers said the GNBA had sent a letter to the television station as a programme “viewpoint” hosted by its Editor-in-Chief, Edward Lane had information that was contrary to Section 32 of the Broadcasting Act. These infractions have been occurring since February of this year. In March and June of this year, similar programmes were hosted by Lane, and on each occasion, there were infractions against the Broadcasting Act.

“That is what we called in MTV for and had nothing to do with anybody airing a press conference where the leader of the opposition said the President was a ‘charlatan’.”

“The comments made by the Leader of the Opposition at his Press Conference of Oct 10, 2019, are instructive. At this press conference Mr. Jagdeo, also General Secretary of the PPP, spoke of Freedom Radio in the first-person plural suggesting that the two entities are really one. I would imagine that the Broadcasting Act having been piloted through Parliament by the PPP, Freedom Radio would comply with the said Act,” the GNBA chair said.