Mar 11, 2016 News
-warns of stricter monitoring on programs
The Board of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) said it last week successfully hosted a session with television broadcasters to update them of new developments.
GNBA is the body that regulates the operations of television and radio stations in the country.
The event was hosted by the authority’s recently appointed Public Relations Officer (Acting), Joel Ally, who welcomed broadcasters and introduced the chairman, Leonard Craig.
The Board of Directors was officially introduced. Present were Anthony Vieira, Jocelyne Josiah, Vic Insanally and Ex-Officio Member, Valmikki Singh, the Managing Director of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU).
Directors Ameena Gafoor and Abiola Wong-Inniss were not in attendance.
According to the GNBA, the names of the Sub-Committees of the Governing Board were introduced.
Josiah will chair the Monitoring and Compliance Committee (MCC); Vieira- the Chair of the Legal Matters, Fees and Licensing Committee (LMFLC) while Insanally will chair the Finance Committee (FC).
Broadcasters were briefed on the various zones and the proposed annual fee structure for
each zone. These include Primary Zone- which takes in Mahaica/Mahaicony district to parts of the Essequibo Island and parts of the Linden Highway: $1.2M; Secondary Zone which takes in New Amsterdam, Corriverton, parts of the Essequibo Coast, Charity and the Pomeroon: $600,000M and Tertiary Zone covers areas in Parika, Linden and Lethem-$300,000.
GNBA said that it is important to note that each of the zones fall under two categories- profitable and non-profitable.
“To this end, during the consultative process, it was decided that Community Radio Stations should be encouraged hence a category for this was necessary.”
GNBA also announced intentions to utilize the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) TV Ratings System for determining content for broadcast in Guyana.
“Television broadcasters will be monitored to ensure their content adheres to the broadcast policy outlined in the Broadcast Act with respect to offending taste; as such, programs will be allowed to be aired only in a time slot for which it is suitable.”
With regards to GNBA’s finance, it was noted that there is a large outstanding balance which must be liquidated.
The authority is toying with the idea of a significant fee reduction and amnesty period being granted and all broadcasters who settle their outstanding amounts within the period be considered for the 2016 license.
“Broadcasters were told that the authority wants to know how they are operating their stations with the intention of helping them. To this end, broadcasters were assured that efforts are being made to level the playing field as far as possible.”
Discussed also were TV ratings such as TV-MA (Mature Audience) and the content of lewd music videos were also raised with the issue of advertising coming up.
“Specific emphasis was placed on monitoring and compliance. All broadcast media will be monitored based on approved guidelines. A review of those guidelines will be done in an effort to give advice on issues relating to the said guidelines,” the GNBA said.
On the important point of finance, it was noted that licence fees need to be reviewed.
“The current board inherited a situation where there had been no monitoring, regulating or enforcing; hence these matters are to be addressed. To this end, broadcasters were assured that efforts are being made to level the playing field as far as possible,” GNBA disclosed.
This event saw participation from a wide cross-section of television broadcasters who expressed personal concerns faced within the broadcast industry.
“Some of these concerns included unfair practices among broadcasters, fee structure, signal interferences and the expressed need for protection by the GNBA.”
As part of the reforms to ensure that broadcasters are regulated, new laws had mandated the establishment of the GNBA.
However, there were protests after ex-president, Bharrat Jagdeo, shortly before he ended his tenure in 2011, named several close friends and his party as being the recipients of broadcast licences for radio stations.
Among those benefitting were Jagdeo’s close friends, his party’s newspaper and a relative of one of his ministers.
Sidelined were several prominent media houses including Kaieteur News, Stabroek News, Capitol News and CNS 6.
The previous GNBA board had said it was moving to correct the situation but did little during the last few years.
A new board was announced by the David Granger-led administration shortly after it took office last year.
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