The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) has recorded over 150 broadcast infringements within the space of five months.
According to Chairman of the GNBA, Leslie Sobers, the Authority has been working to ensure that broadcasters boost their level of compliance in keeping with the regulations.
In an invited comment on the subject, Sobers noted that broadcasters continue to commit a number of infractions which include the breach of good taste and decency, through the use of obscene language in songs and audiovisual content, the use of profanity in movies, irresponsible reporting on sensitive issues, irresponsible programme hosting, and inappropriate graphic content in reported pieces.
The GNBA official noted that of the 19 registered television stations, and 20 registered radio stations, there were 39 infringements in January, 40 in February, 49 in March, 22 in April, and at least 16 infringements recorded in May of this year.
He noted, however, that as a regulatory body, the GNBA is not taking a big stick approach to ensure compliance.
“It’s a step by step process. These broadcasters are given several warnings before any stern action is taken. We try to work with them to point out the flaws and see how we can best help them to improve the quality of programmes in keeping with the regulations.”
Sobers noted that the GNBA has constantly implored broadcasters to use the guidelines for the broadcasting legislation, as a guide, to work towards achieving quality broadcasting in Guyana. In fact, he noted that several consultations are planned for the next two years in keeping with the Authority’s strategic plan.
The GNBA Head said that the Authority has been developing strategies to monitor as well as assist broadcasters to be compliant with the rules of broadcasting.
“We are aware that there are some challenges but we have been encouraging broadcasters to as much as possible utilize the guidelines… ”
Earlier this year, the GNBA announced that it will be encouraging a citizens’ monitoring project — where citizens can make complaints of infractions by broadcasters.
According to the GNBA, efforts have been geared towards developing a research department which will survey listenership, quality of programmes, do content analysis, and assess levels of infractions among other things.”
The GNBA had noted, however, that while the Authority is willing to cooperate and assist broadcasters who fall below the mark, it will specifically target broadcasters, who never had a broadcasting licence and are still on the air; those whose licences have expired and have not renewed their licences but are still broadcasting, and those who owe the authority millions of dollars and are refusing or failing to pay.
In fact, the authority has already moved ahead with litigation against certain broadcasters. Persons will not be placed before the court for broadcast content.
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