GNBA Chairman hands over advice for broadcast legislation to PM

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Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who is currently performing the functions of President, yesterday, received advice on the Broadcasting Regulations from Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leslie Sobers.

The handing over of the document took place at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Ministry of the Presidency.

Prime Minister Nagamooto upon completion of the new  regulations will lay the document in the National Assembly.

He said the regulations will guide the operations of the authority and  decisions. The PM stated that he would have conducted consultations with the GNBA on the issue of drafting a subsidiary law for the regulations for the broadcasting spectrum in Guyana. Prime Minister Nagamootoo explained that he sought the advice of the GNBA board on what it “deems important issues that should form the regulations.”

The PM made reference to members that were on the previous board that had started to work on the regulations.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo highlighted that the regulations are important to let the operators or providers of broadcasting know that they are not, “In a free for all.”

He said, “When you have a licence, it is not a licence to be irresponsible, unpatriotic or conducting any other functions that run contrary to the laws of Guyana and (they are there) to ultimately protect the interest and sovereignty of Guyana.”

The PM highlighted that, “The broadcasting entity is supposed to keep a log of all the programmes that are aired and they fail to keep the log… You heard people complain that there was this terrible programme, obscene or advocating violence or terrorism and the authority requests the broadcaster to produce the log and they say no we don’t have it. We don’t even have the tape. That is a serious violation!”

The Prime Minister explained that there is something called Public Broadcasting,  adding “when you have a public broadcast you can have an emergency and the Minister responsible for broadcasting can request television and radio stations to broadcast a particular programme, alerting people to danger. A broadcaster may say I do not have to or if the President is making an address to the Nation, he or she may say why should I carry it, but if the regulations say that you shall carry such a broadcast and you did not carry the broadcast you are in trouble!”

The Prime Minister said that regulations are needed, but are not there to penalise anyone. “They are there to guide the operators that when they receive a licence, it is not like transport that you own the licensee forever. A licence is a permission to use the facility until such a time your licence is invalid.”

Prime Minister Nagamootoo emphasised that the government will intervene based on requests by the authority for assistance.

The PM encouraged operators to ensure that they  adhere to the regulations and note that licences can be revoked if the rules and regulations are breached.

Additionally, Chairman of the GNBA Leslie Sobers in brief remarks said that the regulations will govern “how broadcasters operate in the country in keeping with the Broadcasting Act. These regulations we hope, will form the basis of the PM’s own work as the Laws are formulated and regulations that will go with the Laws.” (GINA)

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