[wwww.inewsguyana.com] – The Media Monitoring Unit in its most recent report has publicly registered its dismay and disquiet in relation to the content of the programme “WAKE UP GUYANA” hosted by Basil Bradshaw and broadcast on HBTV Ch. 9 on Monday, May 11, 2015 (Elections Day), at 09:00hrs.
The report released to the media on Monday May 25, covered specifically; the week leading up to and after May 11 and includes coverage of E-Day itself.
According to the MMU, the programme contravened many aspects of the 2015 Media Code of Conduct (MCC), but more specifically the rule circumscribing the media’s coverage of political parties’ activities prior to, and on Voting Day.
More to the point, in the programme, the host aired footage of the APNU+AFC Rally held at Square of the Revolution, on Saturday, May 9. The airing of the footage was a contravention of Section N of the MCC, which pellucidly states that, “…no coverage of any activity by the political parties shall take place for a period to begin 24 hours prior to the opening of Polling Stations on the day of Polling. This ban will continue to the close of Polling Stations.”
It was also noted by the Unit that the host made uninformed comments about rumored incidences, which he never sought to verify before going public with the information. The MMU noted for example, he said that he heard that at GoedFortuin [West Bank Demerara], “…somebody is distributing ID cards…”and, “…there is a problem on the East Coast of Demerara…some ballots are not being stamped… some ballots have six (6) digits at the top and five (5) at the bottom…”
The Unit takes the position that the public announcement of the above statements by the host of the program, on the very day of the elections, without first validating their accuracy, was tantamount to deliberately trying to ignite raw emotions in a way that could have led to the derailment of the elections through the eruption of public disorder.
Given that this did not happen, the Unit feels is testimony to the exercise of common sense and prudence by our citizenry, in the face of such callous incitement.
Further, the Unit found that the host’s selection and playing of two (2) tunes with political content highly critical of the PPP/C, was distasteful and a subtle form of electioneering. It was, without doubt, the type of behavior that confounds the universally hallowed rules governing media conduct on an election day.
The MMU stated that there can be no excuse for the egregious parts of the programme that were allowed to be broadcast unedited, since it was the responsibility of the principal(s) of the Channel to inform their clients of the strictures of the MCC pertaining to programming prior to, during, and after elections day.
Relatedly, while still on the MCC, it did not go unnoticed by the Unit that several Television Channels breached the 24-hours stipulation of the Code in connection with the broadcasting of activities by political parties, by broadcasting political parties’-produced Talk Shows/Interviews, and footages of Rallies, after 06:00hrs on Sunday, May 10, 2015.
The Channels guilty of this charge are: Chs. 2, 6, 11, 67, and 69.