NCN Board disbands Current Affairs Unit

NCN Board disbands Current Affairs Unit

The Board of the National Communications Network has made a decision to disband a recently formed Current Affairs Unit and transfer all the recently hired staff for that unit to the newsroom of NCN.

The move by the NCN Board has unsettled some of those who were a part of the unit and some of them are already giving indications privately since they see the transfer to the newsroom as a demotion though their salaries remain the same. Many of them were being paid more than Senior Reporters and Senior Producers at the state owned media.

The Current Affairs Unit was formed by Acting Chief Executive Officer Michael Gordon. It’s focus centred around producing special programmes for the TV station.

When the Opposition parties recently gave the indication that they intend to cut the budget again for both NCN and the Government Information Agency, the Board began examining recent changes at NCN.

An Official close to the NCN Board claims that the new unit and the hiring of persons for the unit were done without the knowledge of the Board and that’s one of the main reasons behind the decision to shut the unit down and transfer its workers.  But NCN may be facing even more problems as the budget estimates consideration looms.

Last year the Opposition parties used their majority in the National Assembly to reduce the budget for NCN and GINA to $1 but that has not stopped NCN from hiring new employees.

When the NCN budget was cut, the company had just over 160 persons in its employ. Today the company has close to 215 persons on its payroll. That increase in employment has the Board worried that the budget could be reduced again since the increase in employment would indicate that the cuts last year had no impact.

The Opposition parties have long expressed their displeasure with the way the state owned TV and Radio stations have been covering issues raised by them. The ruling party on the other hand belives NCN and GINA are doing a good job.

PPP Executive Member Irfaan Ali recently told a media briefing at Freedom House that there should be no cuts to the budget for the two state agencies since they have been doing “a good job”. However when quizzed about NCN’s hiring practice over the past year, Ali said it is an issue that may need to be examined.

Opposition Leader David Granger told News Source that while NCN has been making some improvements to its coverage of Opposition issues, the same could not be said for the Government Information Agency.

Last year the Government forced out the NCN Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Sattaur and Programme Director Martin Goolsarran after several financial discrepancies were discovered during an audit that was triggered by a fall out with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company. It was discovered that Goolsarran was depositing millions of dollars meant for NCN into his personal account. Considerations of the budget estimates begin next Monday.


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