– condemns manipulation of airwaves to serve agenda
The Alliance for Change (AFC), one day after its co-opposition in parliament had cause to condemn the government over race division statements, has spoken strongly against the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for what it says is its continued strategy to preach “race-hate”, particularly in the party’s perceived stronghold of Berbice.
Vice Chairman, Moses Nagamootoo, told media operatives during the party’s weekly press briefing yesterday that the AFC condemns “the shameless and illegal campaign of the Ramotar led PPP to create ethnic and geographic apartheid in Guyana. In Berbice, the PPP has been stirring anti-African fears; conjuring up the so-called black jumbie to scare Indians and to woo them away from the AFC.”
Nagamootoo slammed the PPP for the manipulation of the airwaves to serve their agenda in getting their message across.
A former Information Minister under the PPP, Nagamootoo noted that the government is currently attempting to muzzle those opposing it and to control the information being disseminated the citizens.
Nagamootoo stated that when he was Minister of information he had forwarded four drafts to deal with the distribution of the country’s airwaves. He said he had submitted two types of allocations of frequencies; community-based and nationwide. He said it was recognized that some ethnic communities did not have enough money to go nationwide and culturally homogeneous areas were identified for small radio and televisions stations.
There was also a provision for a national link-up of frequencies to go nationwide, but that was at the time made when the state alone had nationwide coverage.
This has changed, Nagamootoo opined, and he is adamant that it is not in the interest of Guyana for government to restrict stations who are capable of going beyond their current allocation. He questioned why CN Sharma, a pioneer in the television industry in Guyana could not be given uplink status to broadcast beyond his current limit and others who came behind him, are now having links to other areas in Guyana.
“It is discriminatory. So that it is part and parcel of this PPP government, the Jagdeo and Ramotar vindictive government to not only muzzle existing press, but to limit the area of your expression. To limit the scope of your reach is state censorship,” Nagamootoo emphasized.
Cathy Hughes, another AFC Member of Parliament stated that for almost the whole of last month, every Friday they were requesting paid airtime to broadcast their programme and were denied.
“Every single Friday, we delivered our half an hour Alliance on the Move programme to the studios of NCN (National Communications Network) with correspondence requesting the time the programme could be air on a consistent basis. We have gotten that ‘things are tight’ by the programme director, to no response to other excuses, even though the programme was being paid for,” Hughes pointed out.
She said that last Friday the party also met with the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and raised the issue in strong terms. She related that the party has urged the PSC members to issue a statement in relation to the sharing out of the country’s airwaves.
The current situation, she stated, will have scenarios where media owners can decide who they want to have access to the larger population of Guyana, when traditionally, in all parts of the world, the media has to operate in the general interest of the population so all citizens can be informed fairly.
Hughes said the party is awaiting the PSC statement, to speak out against the irregular distribution of the airwaves. “Our national media that taxpayers pay money for must be available to any organization,” Hughes emphasised.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had cause to slam the PPP after the ruling party made statements that APNU and PNC would run the Demerara River red with blood. They saw it as instilling fear and causing division among the people.
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