The Guyana National Broadcasting Agency (GNBA) yesterday afternoon held a press briefing in the boardroom of its headquarters to address a number of issues that have surfaced in the media. The GNBA is refuting claims that MTV and Freedom Radio were sanctioned and fined for comments against the president during which they called him a charlatan.
Chairman of the board, Mr Leslie Sobers, during the briefing made it clear that his organization is in no way a political one and Freedom Radio and MTV were fined because they were in non-compliance with the regulations which pointed to the Broadcasting Act.
Sobers explained that “The contention of the Leader of the Opposition that Freedom Radio was fined $75,000.00 for publishing his charlatan comment about the President is wickedly false, maliciously deceptive, designed to mislead the nation and tarnish the principled stand of the Broadcasting Authority.
Between January 2019 and September 2019 Freedom committed a total of 26 infractions. Freedom Radio was called in before and simply encouraged to refrain. Between January 2019 and September 2019, MTV committed a total of 27 infractions, MTV was called in before and simply encouraged to refrain.”
“I am saying this without fear of contradiction, that the GNBA did not sanction Freedom Radio or MTV for airing any comment that had to do with calling the President a charlatan. This contention by the Leader of the Opposition can only be a reaction of his own conscience and knowledge that it is defamatory of one’s reputation to publish disparaging comments that cannot be justified,” Sobers said.
“On several previous occasions the GNBA made it clear that this Authority has no political agenda and is not being used by the present government as an agent to quell freedom of expression or simply make life difficult for any Broadcaster.”
He went on to say that the present government has reposed confidence in the managing Board to handle the business and affairs of the Authority in a fair and impartial manner. “Our mandate can be gleaned from the Broadcasting Act of 2011. I hasten to say, as I have said before that the Broadcasting Act of 2011 was piloted through Parliament by the now Opposition and assented to by Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, now Leader of the Opposition.”
Sobers further stated that “the comments that the Leader of the Opposition made at his press conference on October 10 last were instructive and he spoke of the Freedom radio in the first person plural, suggesting that the two entities are one.”
“I would imagine that the Broadcasting Act having been piloted through Parliament by the PPP, Freedom Radio would comply with the said Act. The final test is not how amicable you are to the compulsion of the law but how far you are prepared to obey self-imposed law. Seems to me they have failed that test,” he commented.
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