Prime Minister defends passage of Broadcasting amendment bill

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 24, 2017

The amendment to the broadcasting act of 2011 intends to bring control to the local broadcasting landscape. This is according to Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo who sat with Julie Lewis Thursday on a National Communications Network(NCN)radio broadcast of ‘Let’s Gyaff’ on Thursday.

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo chats with Julie Lewis, host of ‘Let’s Gyaff’ Radio Programme on Voice of Guyana.

The Prime Minister noted that the Broadcasting Act of 2011 demonstrated no form of governance and was more of an open-ended law. This, he said, was one of the most important things on his agenda that needed to be changed upon assuming office.

“The law as it was, said that you shall give a certain percentage of broadcast time to the government for Public Service Broadcasting, what they used to call Development and Support Communication and I said ‘no’ you don’t need to have a certain percentage, you have to cap it, you have to say for sure. I’m a lawyer one of the first things you learn as a lawyer is that a law must not be uncertain. Any elementary student of the law would know that and I hold the former Attorney General (Anil Nandlall) accountable for a law that was vague, amorphous and open ended.” The Prime Minister pointed out.

The broadcast landscape which the Prime Minister referred to as the country’s asset has the potential to reach thousands of citizens. It can also be the single most genuine source of information, disseminating emergency notices and updates continuously.

If not controlled, unnecessary and untimely information can be released. Meanwhile, persons can access programmes and other platforms that may not appeal and suit the mode and or culture of any setting.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo further explained that , “Because of the nature of broadcasting, it enters your sitting room without you having the ability to control it, you have to do content control. You can’t have in your sitting room your child sitting with you there and it has pornographic, pornography being shown, no! Some laws have to be made to ensure that pornography is not acceptable as part of your broadcasting right.”

On Friday August 04, 2017, the Broadcasting Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly. The bill is still to be assented to by President David Granger before becoming law. “The question is, do we need a modern law to govern the broadcasting landscape? No one would say ‘no’ you absolutely need to have that.”

The Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2017 amends the Broadcasting Act 2011 to introduce three classes of broadcast services namely, commercial, non-commercial and community classes; and three types of broadcasting zones, namely, primary, secondary and tertiary broadcasting zones.

The Bill provides for public service programmes, the prohibition of programmes containing hate speech. It addresses an international agreement for broadcasting any channel or programme as part of the local service.


By: Delicia Haynes


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