Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who has responsibility for Public Information has declared an end to the “abuse” that he said the state media has suffered in past years.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo has now promised major policy and aesthetic reforms for the state owned National Communications Network (NCN) and the Guyana National Newspaper Limited (GNNL), which owns the Guyana Chronicle.
The Prime Minister made the statements on Tuesday as he presented the instruments of appointment to the Chairpersons and Directors of the new NCN and Chronicle Boards.
He said it is his personal belief that the Chronicle has been one of the most abused newspapers in the world, having been reduced to a “political rag” that expressed only the views of the former ruling party and government.
He has challenged the new Chronicle Board of Directors to work hard to renew the newspaper’s credibility and to ensure it responsibly represents a wide cross section of views in the days and months ahead.
“The board will have to be able to guide the management of the newspaper on issues of policies that make the newspaper national, makes the newspaper inclusive, make the newspaper acceptable, make the newspaper something that you would want to read, wholesome information, entertainment, sport, cultural items” he said.
The Prime Minister also challenged the new Board to investigate whether employees who are shareholders, have been receiving their dividends.
He said there will be interference from the government, which represents the states interest, but vowed that that interference would be good and positive.
The GNNL Board is being chaired by Amerindian Rights Activist, Jean La Rose and has seven directors. They are Karen Davis, Imran Khan, Scherazade Ishoof-Khan, Ruel Johnson, Bert Wilkinson, Tabitha Sarabo, Patricia Woolford and Sohan Poonai.
Meanwhile, the NCN Board is chaired by businessman Bishwa Panday and comprises of members Mark Archer, Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Margaret Lawrence, Kojo McPherson, Dhanwanti Sukhdeo, Carolyn Walcott, Colin Thompson and Imran Khan.
Imran Khan who is the Director of Public Information and Press Secretary to the PM is named on both Boards and is expected to represent the Prime Minister and government’s interest.
Speaking directly to the new NCN Board, Mr. Nagamootoo acknowledged that the highly indebted company has also fallen to hard times.
He said this national radio and television broadcaster was merely functioning as a network that wasn’t national and couldn’t communicate properly.
Despite these setbacks, the Prime Minister believes the entity is rife with potential and he called on board members to harness that potential and recoup several hundreds of millions of dollars that is owed to the company.
In a brief statement, the new NCN Chairman said going the company will not be doing business with anyone who has outstanding monies for it.
He made that announcement even before any meeting of the board or any consultation with the company’s management.
The Prime Minister said it is his personal belief that the boards are well staffed professionals who come from the media, arts, broadcast and business background.