U.S flays Guyana on radio licenses distribution

U.S flays Guyana on radio licenses distribution

The President Barack Obama administration has flayed the Government of Guyana for its lack of transparency in the distribution of radio licenses which brought on stream new radio stations.

In its latest country report on Human Rights, the U.S Department of State said “In 2011 the government approved applications for 10 new radio stations, although the process was controversial, lacked transparency, and contained further steps needed before the new stations could begin broadcasting”.

The report also focused on the setting up of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority and said observes have been noting that few of the board members had previous media experience.

The report which was released on Friday by U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, said in Guyana while the law caters for freedom of speech, the government continued to exert heavy control over the content of the state-owned National Communications Network, giving government officials extended coverage while limiting participation of opposition figures.

The report also touch on other issues related to the media and the press. On the issue of censorship and content, the human rights report found that in contrast with 2011, there were no government-imposed restrictions on television stations or suspensions of broadcasts but noted that “the government largely directed advertising to media houses aligned with the governing party.”

The Guyana Government has been coming under criticism from Local and International Media and Press Organisations over the radio license issue.

Private media owners on Friday filed a lawsuit against the administration over the decision by former President Bharrat Jagdeo to shut them out of the distribution of radio licenses although they had their applications made before many of those who were granted licenses.

The media owners want the High Court to rule that the issuance of the  licenses by Mr. Jagdeo were done in bad faith and without transparency. They want the court to direct the authorities to issue them with the radio and TV licences that they requested.

On Monday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said he hopes the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority would hurry through the applications made and issue the licenses so the country could move on from the issue.

Asked directly by News Source whether he thought the former President was fair in his granting of radio licenses, the Prime Minister said “I don’t think there is an issue of fairness”.


One Response to "U.S flays Guyana on radio licenses distribution"

    You must be logged in to post a comment Login