Jul 09, 2013 News
By Abena Rockcliffe
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), has come out urging the parliamentary opposition parties to cease dialogue and cooperation with the government until a number of listed requirements are met.
One of the foremost requirements on that list was a call for the rescinding of the Radio licenses granted by the “outgoing Jagdeo administration” and the amendment of the Broadcast Act to bring the legislation in line with international best practice.
After the WPA announced its call and made known its intent to “fight” within and outside A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) for the proposed strategy to be implemented, David Hinds, a WPA executive, said that the WPA deems the “willy nilly” distribution of Radio licences a serious threat to democracy. The party saw it as a matter that needs to be effectively addressed.
He said that governing dictatorships all over the world usually make it a priority to gain control or takeover both private and state media.
Hinds noted, “Just like in Guyana, we suffer at the hands of the government as they take control of the media arena. The Jagdeo administration ensured that it distributed licenses to friends…very soon the government will have control on both the private and public media.”
Hinds said that in the “anti-dictatorship struggle that the (manner of distributing radio licences) has to be corrected as it is the epitome of dictatorship. We consider freedom of information and freedom of expression crucial to democracy and it (radio licenses) only given to one set of people is something that cannot be tolerated.”
He added, “It means that (the airwaves) will represent one part of the public and one set of political opinion.” This is discrimination against others in society and a violation of freedom and democracy, this government had to look at the ethnic and political balance. People deserve to hear balanced political views.”
Asked about the likelihood of the government budging from its taken position not to rescind any of the licenses, Hinds said, “We have to try, we have to take every possible route, and if this doesn’t work there will be a new approach.”
Questioned about what will be the “new approach,” Hinds expressed that the “struggle” will be taken to another level, “we will have to call out the masses to move to the streets.”
However, Hinds stressed that this is only the will of the WPA as it hasn’t been discussed in A Partnership for National Unity, (APNU). He anticipated that the list will soon be brought up formally as part of the agenda at an APNU meeting.
Included in the menu of matters that the WPA proposes to be addressed, is the placing of NICIL, Lotto, GGMC and all other funds into the Consolidated Fund; a Code of Conduct for all Ministers and Senior Public Sector officials; the immediate establishment of an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate instances of official corruption at all levels of the state and the re-submission to the National Assembly of the Bills vetoed by the President; once an independent judicial review determines that the legislation contrary to the advice of the Attorney General, did not violate the Constitution.
Also, the party called for the liberalising of the state-owned broadcast and print media from the control of the ruling party to ensure unbiased news coverage and unobstructed access to the widest range of political opinions; the restructuring of the boards of all state media to reflect the composition of Parliament; the release to parliamentary parties of up-to-date economic feasibility study of the Amaila Falls project; the Power Purchase Agreement of GPL; Marriott Hotel; BAI SHIN LIN ETC and the setting up of Commissions of Inquiry that include Cultural /Social Audits of NCN, GPL GUYSUCO and GGMC.
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