Mar 01, 2013 Letters
On the issue of the CCTV/NCN a newspaper columnist in Guyana is behaving like some of the State- owned and controlled media reporters. The Government Minister (in this case, the Prime Minister) has spoken so the matter is over! The matter is not over! The column is so WRONG in so many parts. The columnist has uttered a misguided opinion about the broadcast spectrum vis a vis the Guyanese economy but let a thousand flowers bloom.
The columnist notes: “ Guyanese must not get carried away by facetious arguments that the broadcast spectrum is limited and therefore it is worrying that a frequency has been assigned to a foreign power, and that this will lessen the opportunities for regional and local stations to gain entry into the system.
“The problem is not the finite limitation of the spectrum. The problem is just how many television and radio stations can be sustained in such a small economy.”
The columnist raises separate issues one of which presupposes that Guyana’s economy will not grow.
Over the last few weeks I have publicly declared my concern about the electro-magnetic spectrum. It was never meant to be facetious although I do have a penchant to be that way at times. To me this is a very serious matter of “farming out” frequencies in a manner that is less than transparent.
To throw in Content and Economic sustainability issues is to try to create a diversion from the main issue under discussion, the allocation of the airwaves.
In the most populous contiguous Regions Three and Four, the VHF channels and several of the UHF are not available if prior occupation and utilization are taken into account.
The admission by the Prime Minister that CCTV needed no licence because China Central TV is merely using a frequency assigned to NCN has furthered complicated the issue. Prime Minister Hinds has either been misled by his technical people or is under a serious delusion that the Government of Guyana is right.
Perhaps when the matter reaches the National Assembly the Guyana Government may admit Channel 27 was never designated by the NFMU for any Broadcasts, Chinese or otherwise prior to 2011. The documentation from the Chinese side will show that the Chinese engineers working on the project were indeed working on a Transmitter for Channel 29.
As a result of some form of bungling at the administration of the frequencies level or higher, when the Chinese turned up with the gift transmitter which it was going to use under the guise that it was leasing a carrier, lo and behold, the Guyana Learning Channel registered to the Ministry of Education Government of Guyana was on Channel 29. The truth has to be somewhere between Georgetown and Beijing.
Guyanese were not made aware an entire Frequency was going to be dedicated to CCTV programming but it was clear that we could reasonably make that assumption since both sides the Chinese and the Guyanese declared that the broadcasts were 24 hours. The GINA release issued on December 30 2011 certainly did not intimate that the CCTV feed was going to be an 18 hour broadcast feed as the GOG is now saying.
According to GINA the Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Guyana Dr Ouyang stated “With the 24-hour broadcast the Chinese community in Guyana will be receiving sound information about the events that made the news on the Asian continent.”
In the future, I hope Guyanese will become engaged whenever there are bilateral cooperation agreements. I look forward to the ones with Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname, India and Cuba.
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