Broadcast advisory committee should not be govítís poodle

Stabroek News
January 11, 2003

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The PNCR sees the attempt by Prime Minister Sam Hinds and the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (ACB) to suspend the licences of two television stations for 48 hours as one that will undermine the consensus achieved on the improvement and monitoring of the broadcast industry as part of the dialogue process.

Speaking at the partyís weekly press conference on Thursday, Chairman and acting leader of the party, Robert Corbin said his party wishes ďto register its outrage at the assault on freedom of the press which has greeted Guyanese over the end-of-year season.Ē

He sees Hindsí action as an attempt by the government to muzzle the non-state owned television stations by a gag-order.

Hinds had ordered a suspension of the licences of Channels 6 and 9 stating that they had breached broadcast regulations. The matter is now engaging the attention of the courts.

ďThe use of the interim committee as a poodle and hatchet of the government was not the intention and expectation of the PNCR and we are pleased that the matter is being vigorously challenged in the courts,Ē Corbin said.

It has been pointed out that the ACB, which recommended the suspension action to the Prime Minister, was set up after a Memorandum of Understanding between President Bharrat Jagdeo and the late PNCR Leader Desmond Hoyte. The ACBís mandate calls for it to monitor TV broadcasts and to make recommendations to the PM for corrective action.

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