Owners of private media houses who were not issued radio licenses continued their protest action today outside the Grand Coastal Hotel on the East Coast of Demerara where Government, private sector officials and the diplomatic community were meeting to discuss issues related to money laundering.
Joined by a number of supporters, the private media owners said the President Ramotar administration needs to “seriously address” the issue and examine all of the radio licenses issued by former President Jagdeo months before he demitted office.
Owner and Publisher of Kaieteur News, Glen Lall told News Source that he intends to “carry the fight until we get this injustice rectified”. Lall said the Jagdeo move is an insult to Guyana and its people. He said the former President chose to issue licenses to his friends and family while he ignored the applications submitted by media owners and practitioners.
The Kaieteur News owner does not believe President Ramotar could divorce himself from the Jagdeo decision. He said there needs to be an explanation as to “how they granted five radio licenses and frequencies to the Mirror Newspapers, but sidelined the Kaieteur News”. The Mirror Newspaper is the official newspaper of the People’s Progressive Party.
Lall said he has an issue too with the granting of cable licenses since those licenses could also cover radio and television frequencies.
Veteran Broadcaster and Owner of EMW Communications/Capitol News, Enrico Woolford was also on the picket line. Woolford said “the private owners must take a stand”, pointing out that “the problem has been that the Government is thinking that they have a legitimate right to be wrong”.
He said he is convinced that the Donald Ramotar administration is wrong on this specific issue. When it comes to unfairness in the distribution of the licenses, the broadcaster said the Jagdeo moves stands out as “the height of unfairness”.
The Private media owners have said that the Jagdeo radio licenses decision smacks in the face of transparency and it ought to be corrected. Woolford believes the Government has “got to give” on this issue.
The Guyana Press Association and the Guyana Media Proprietors Association have both expressed their concerns about the issue saying that the Government ought to address the concerns of the private media.
Before leaving office, Mr. Jagdeo doled out over 10 radio licenses. When the Ramotar administration was quizzed on the holders of those licenses, it was revealed that many close associates of the ruling PPP were granted as much as five frequencies each.
The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority which came on stream after Mr. Jagdeo left office has indicated that it is currently looking at applications for a number of new radio license.