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Chairman of the GNBA, Leslie Sobers

…broadcasters get  one week to re-apply for licences

BROADCASTERS are being asked to re-apply to the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) for new licences within 30 days of the enactment of the Broadcast (Amendment) Act 2017.

On Saturday, a statement issued by GNBA’s chair Leslie Sobers said that in light of President David Granger assenting to the legislation on September 7, it is important that those who have not yet applied to the GNBA for new licences do so by October 6.

“All those who had an application pending with the GNBA for a licence before September 7, 2017, also need to visit the Authority to amend their pending applications, or if need be, re-apply in accordance with the Amended Broadcast Act 2017 by October 6, 2017,” Sobers said in the statement.

Additionally, the GNBA Chair disclosed that many existing broadcasters have already begun the application process and some of them have completed those procedures with the GNBA as stipulated in the Broadcast Act.

He assured that completed applications will be processed expeditiously as they are received by the Authority following the 30-day stipulation.
However, the GNBA chair warned broadcasters who are non-compliant with this provision by October 8, 2017, that the Broadcast (Amendment) Act 2017 prescribes a series of penalties for non-compliance.

“GNBA continues to be available to all broadcasters and those wishing to broadcast, on the re-application procedures and processes, and looks forward to working with a fully licensed and regulated broadcasting sector for the benefit of all Guyanese,” the statement said.
The Broadcast Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly early August and was in September assented to by President Granger. The legislation was first introduced by the then People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government in 2011.

In September, the Guyana Chronicle reported that local broadcasters had begun clearing their arrears with the GNBA with the aim of ensuring that they are compliant in preparation for possible licensing.
In August, this newspaper had reported that there was more than $140M outstanding in licensing fees for television, as well as cable and radio broadcasters, who were not in compliance as of December 31, 2016.

If those fees remain unpaid, broadcasters could find themselves off-air after the Broadcast Act takes effect.
Following a closed-door meeting in August, which was attended by Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, and the board of directors of the GNBA, the Guyana Chronicle was informed that only six television and cable operators were compliant as of December 31, 2016 from a total of 27.

A number of radio stations were in default at the time. It is unclear how many of these operators have paid up their fees to date.
Those desirous of additional information can contact the GNBA on telephone numbers 223-5007, 231-7366 and 231-7367.

Article by Guyana Chronicle