Broad­cast li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line Oct 6

Stabroek News Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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