Your Eyewitness, writing this on “Emancipation Day”, is struck by the irony of having to comment about the Government curtailing the most important freedom of all: the right over one’s property. Government obviously sees “emancipation” as just “dressing up”. The most invidious characteristic of slavery was not just that planters owned slaves, but that the slaves couldn’t own anything. This has led to the structural condition that still channels the descendants of slaves into “conspicuous consumption”. If you couldn’t own and pass down anything to your children, why save?
In its latest example of escalating authoritarianism, the PNC-led coalition Government just introduced a Bill that would COMPEL private broadcasters to broadcast 1 hour of Government programming every day of the week. The Government is using the excuse that broadcasters are licensed all over the world and they’re also “regulated”. So far, so good. But the Government is disingenuously ignoring that, everywhere, such ‘regulation” is only introduced to serve the public good.
And, as a matter of fact, the Government has to explicitly show how the public interest is being furthered by the particular “regulation”. “Public interest” announcements?? No problem!! All broadcasters understand that the public must be informed about emergencies and suchlike? But the Government “messages” are over and beyond these. Government will be sole arbiters of what they will broadcast – and when they will broadcast it!! This is the action of a Government that is determined to control the thoughts of the citizenry.
And it’s not like the Government doesn’t have its own avenues to broadcast its messages. In fact, this was the reason offered when the then PNC government nationalised the broadcasting industry back in the day. So here it is, the Government owned TV and radio stations – which are heavily subsidised by taxpayers’ dollars – compete with private broadcasters for commercials – and those private broadcasters must now broadcast the Government’s propaganda? Pleease!!
What makes it worse is that, all over the world, regulations over broadcasting are being loosened because of the proliferation of new means of disseminating information – such as the Internet. To rub salt into the open wound, this MULTIPLICATION of distribution channels for information is being exploited to the hilt by the government, and every Ministry has followed the Ministry of the Presidency in fielding massive public relations units.
The GINA websites and social media are already flooded with Government propaganda.
The Government doesn’t allow the Opposition equal access to its broadcasting channels, and so already enjoys an unreasonable advantage.
There’s definitely some imperative operating beyond just broadcasting the Government’s messages.
It’s just another step in creating “Big Brother” in Guyana.
Sounding rather chuffed about the 13 prisoners who’ve been recaptured from the 17 who eased their way out of the Camp St and Lusignan jails, Public Security Ministry Ramjattan cautioned, “We’re not out of the woods as yet.” Your Eyewitness wondered whether he was signalling (“wink, wink”) that the four hardened criminals from Camp St – murderers all – are now in our jungle (“woods”).
After all, these four fellas are the ones who planned and executed the conflagration that brought down the curtains on the ancient jail in the middle of our (not-so-fair) city. They wouldn’t have such a detailed and elaborate breakout plan, and would not have a hideout in mind, would they? Don’t forget the Bartica and Lusignan murder convict (28 victims?) Mark Royden traversed the “woods” of the Hilly Sand and Clay belt after the Bartica bloodbath.
Or was Ramjattan just being figurative and signalling us that there’s still a lot to be done before the situation is brought under control?
In that case then, he’s the king of understatement!!
So Maduro was able to have a “Constituent Assembly” elected so he can change the Venezuelan Constitution? OK.
Now, will he change Art 8, which fixes their ridiculous claims on our Essequibo??