The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) has rejected claims that its policies and decisions are influenced by the current government.
GNBA Chairman Leslie Sobers called a press conference today to respond to the claims which were made by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
Mr. Sobers dismissed the claims by Jagdeo that the GNBA is serving partisan interest.
He said he believes Jagdeo’s statement is as a result of warnings that were recently issued to all broadcasters about divisive election rhetoric in the run-up to the March elections.
There are a number of radio and tv stations that are closely linked to the PPP and the Opposition Leader himself and those are the ones that appear to be involved in the issues the GNBA are concerned about.
The PPP owns one of the radio stations, Freedom Radio and Jagdeo believes the GNBA’s warning may have been directed to that station that features partisan political programmes daily.
But the GNBA Chairman made it clear that he did not single out any particular station.
“So to take my statements at the last engagement and apply them to Freedom Radio, as if it was an indication that we are going into the election period to take people off the air, that is sympathetic with particular parties is quite fallacious. I have not heard such falsies for a long time,” Sobers said.
As it relates to Freedom Radio, the GNBA chair noted that warning letters were sent to the station advising its broadcasters to “tone down the unfounded and false statements they are making.”
Aside from that, the GNBA had cause to write radio broadcaster Mark Benschop for some things he said against Jagdeo.
In fact, the GNBA, he said, found that Benchop said some “unsavory things” and was invited to a hearing before the GNBA’s investigative committee.
He also took offense to Jagdeo’s accusation of accusing him of taking orders from the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency.
“Mr. Harmon has never attempted to give me any direction or instruction as it relates to broadcasting in this country. As a matter of fact, no minister has attempted that,” he added.
Jagdeo has said that he does not trust the GNBA as it is headed by Sobers.
As President, Jagdeo handpicked the persons he granted broadcast license.
The majority of those licenses were handed out to companies and persons closely linked to his party.