Broadcast licence application deadline Oct 6
All previously licensed and unlicensed broadcasters have until October 6 to apply for a licence in keeping with a recent amendment to the broadcast law, the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) said yesterday, while reminding that noncompliance will attract penalties.
In a press release issued yesterday, the GNBA said it was calling on broadcasters to apply for licences in wake of the recent announcement by the Ministry of the Presidency that President David Granger signed the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act into law on September 7, 2017.
The new legislation requires all radio and television broadcasters to apply for licences within 30 days of the amendments coming into force or face immediate closure of their operations.
The law says broadcasters who fail to apply for licensing or are rejected by the broadcast authority shall immediately halt operations or they would be guilty of an offence, for which they could face a one-year prison term, a fine of $1 million and the forfeiture of all their equipment.
The GNBA yesterday said too that all those who had applications pending prior to September 7, also need to visit the Authority to amend their existing applications or if need be, reapply in accordance with the new Act.
The amendments made the release said.
Sunday Stabroek was unable to ascertain how many existing broadcasters had already reapplied for their licences.
According to the release, the completed applications will be processed “expeditiously” following the 30 day stipulation.
The GNBA also advised those broadcasters who are not in compliance with this provision that the new legislation prescribes “a series of penalties for non-compliance.”
The release added that “GNBA continues to be available to all broadcasters and those wishing to broadcast…[to assist with] the reapplication procedures and processes, and looks forward to working with a fully licensed and regulated broadcasting sector for the benefit of all Guyanese.” Despite fierce opposition from the PPP/C and public criticism government used its majority to pass the bill which amended the 2011 Broadcasting Act. In addition to the application process and penalties for non-compliance, the act states that every broadcaster would have to air public service programmes for a total of up to 60 minutes per day, between 6 am and 10 pm, free of cost.
Some of the criticism directed against the bill stemmed from the failure of the government to consult with broadcasters on the recommended changes.