In response to accusations of censorship by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, Chairman of the GNBA Board, Leslie Sobers, in a recent interview stated categorically that the Authority does not censor nor does it “terrorise, intimidate or harass broadcasters”, as was claimed.
The Chairman further emphasised that the GNBA reaches out to all broadcasters — governmental or otherwise — who commit infractions and added, “We are not the PR for the government.”
According to Sobers, the Authority monitors the airwaves and engages broadcasters on breaches to the Broadcasting Act and the generally accepted guidelines on broadcasting, which can be found on the GNBA website.
The GNBA Chairman indicated that through their licences, broadcasting entities have an obligation to comply with the Broadcasting Act and the laws governing their assigned frequency. He added that if GNBA finds stations committing infractions, “we call, we write, we invite them to discussions, we try to encourage them to desist; because our job is to help develop the broadcasting sector, not to destroy it.”
With respect to press conferences, he said that if something is said that runs contrary to the Broadcasting Act or Guidelines, broadcasters are expected to deal with that in an appropriate manner before broadcasting such content.
The Chairman made it clear that the contention that GNBA favours the government is ludicrous. The Chairman also noted that Government broadcasting stations have also been warned. For instance, he noted that the National Communications Network (NCN) has been called in and warned for several infractions, as per the procedure of GNBA.
As such, he assured that the GNBA continues to function as an independent, impartial and professional entity, with its power vested through the Broadcasting Laws.