Category: Legislation

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The Authority’s records indicate pending applications for the acquisition of a broadcast licence.  The GNBA hereby solicits an acknowledgment of continued interest in acquiring said licence, from those applicants who have not recently communicated with the Authority. GNBA continues its efforts to keep broadcasters fully compliant, increasingly with the passage of the new Broadcast Amendment Act 2017.

GNBA takes this opportunity to urge  pending applicants to become acquainted with the new Broadcast Amendment Act (2017), since the application process is guided by the new Amendments.

GNBA looks forward to a prompt response, relative to your interest.  


CONTACT US ON TELEPHONE NO. 223-5007/231-7367/231-7366/231-2488 

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The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority hereby invites all cable, radio and television broadcasters to settle all fees due and payable to the Authority. Please note importantly, in order to be eligible for the issuance of a broadcast licence, overall compliance is required.

Payments can be made at GNBA’s 18 Lamaha Street, Queenstown, Georgetown location, situated two buildings west of Peter Rose Street, Queenstown, Georgetown.

Chief Executive Officer – (CEO)

Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA)

For further information contact our Public Relations Officer on telephone # 231-2488/231-7367

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The GNBA welcomes your feedback, relative to these Guidelines. 

Contact information: 


Telephone No. 231-7367 /231-7366 /223-5007/231-2488 

GNBA looks forward to hearing from you!

phoca_thumb_l_mr. leslie sobers member_369_300_95



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 



First Vice President and Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo met today, with board members of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) at the Authority’s office on Lamaha Street.

The Prime Minister welcomed the members to their new location and congratulated the organization on their work completed so far, and also for their recommendations that were made and inputted in the Broadcast Act.

Board Members and Board Secretary of the GNBA 

The three Ps ‘Public Private Partnership’ were noted by the Prime Minister, as important in the execution of the functions and mandate of the GNBA.  “You have my support full as the Minister with responsibility for broadcasting. In your zoning activities in redefining the contours of broadcasting in Guyana”, he said.

The issue of broadcast time was discussed extensively.  Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted that the Authority recommended one minute per 60 minutes per day. He explained, “the Act had stated that a certain percentage of broadcast time shall be made available for public broadcasting which was called Development Support Broadcasting”.

Prime Minister said that the organization should not leave it to government to create 60- minute or 10minute content, but open it to all enterprising persons, “…maybe a fund could be developed by the GNBA … for producers of Public Content, Public Information Content and they should apply to access the funds to produce programmes whether is a programme they wish to produce in a particular way, in a particular format to deal with suicide prevention or smoking to alcohol consumption.”

Prime Minister Nagamootoo identified that there is a difference “between government information and government provided information and party propaganda”. He noted that “no station private or public” should be required or mandated to carry party political propaganda; the GNBA needs to assure the Guyanese people that its understands public broadcasting content is not synonymous with political party propaganda.

Whilst addressing key issues in the meeting, he told the board members that clarity is needed on the number of companies that have not submitted their annual license fee since 2016, as this renders them unlicensed and vulnerable under the law.

First Vice President and Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo with Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), (first on right), Leslie Sobers, and staff of the GNBA

“I would like that at this meeting with you whether or not the payment of fees would have meant that any action would have been taken in regards to the assigned frequencies; because there is a requirement under law that all persons, legal person that is licensed to operate must pay a fee. I need to be informed by this Authority what is the status of those entities that have not paid their fees and have been operating”, Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.

Additionally, the amount licensed operators are required to pay was discussed.  The Prime Minister said the previous regulation had stipulated a certain amount in the fee structure. He explained that there was an alternative that they either pay the base fee or 3.5 percent of Gross revenues.

He asked to be advised on whether licensees had stated a profit or if they were declaring losses because, “it means that the computation of 3.5 percent would have to be defined whether it was intended to be growth gross or net gross, because I heard in the National Assembly that if Broadcasters were to go with the one-hour public service broadcasting they will suffer the loss of millions of dollars because their revenue is computed on a fix sum of $30,000 per hour”, he pointed out.

The Prime Minister urged board members to earnestly pursue the matter to ascertain the actual amount operators were earning when they do not disclose gross earnings; since this means the Authority is being cheated out of revenues it is entitled to under the law

The Prime Minister emphasized that e broadcasting was created to satisfy the needs and necessities of the community which it serves.

Aug 16, 2017  GovernmentMinistry of the PresidencyNewsOffice of the Prime Minister



– Says it serves National Interest

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has penned a missive that aims to educate the public about the content of the Broadcast Amendment Bill 2017. He said that much of the concerns expressed are misdirected. While there have been local and international calls for President David Granger to withhold his assent from the Bill, Nagamootoo said that this will not happen. He noted that the President’s assent “cannot be delayed by vested and parochial political interests, and by misconceived or misinformed arguments.”  The Prime Minister said that the amendments are required, with “some urgency, in the public interest.”


In some quarters, there has been a gross misunderstanding and, in a few instances, deliberate misrepresentation of the recent amendments to the Broadcasting Act. This Act was signed into law on September 27, 2011 by then President Jagdeo.

It is apparent that those who have expressed some sort of opposition to the amendments did not examine carefully the provisions of the 2011 Act, which the amendments seek to give effect, as authorized by the said Act. In most cases, the amendments give clarity to certain Sections and also, add certainty to them.

These amendments were recommended by the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority GNBA, and tabled by me in the National Assembly as an AMENDMENT Bill, after statutory consultation with the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), as required by the 2011 Act.

I will explore the changes made by the amendments, starting with the interpretation assigned to certain terms in the Act.



In the ACT “broadcasting service” means a service providing broadcasting.

The AMENDMENT gives clarity to this definition and amplifies that “broadcasting service” means a service providing broadcasting and includes – (i) a television broadcasting service; and (ii) a radio (sound) broadcasting service”.

The ACT has no definition for “public service broadcasting” though it makes provision for broadcasters to provide “certain percentage” of time for such broadcasting.


The AMENDMENT fills the gap, defining “public service broadcasting” as the broadcast of a programme produced for the purpose of informing and educating the public, and promoting policies and activities of the Government that benefit the public as a whole”.



The ACT gives the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), in Section 18 (2), powers to –

(i) require licensees to carry information on any programmes issued by the Civil Defence Commission, the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service and or health services, and certain other programmes as public information deemed appropriate and necessary in terms of national security, emergency and disaster as a public service AT NO COST;”

(k) “require licensees to carry A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE of public service broadcast or development support broadcast as public information deems (sic) appropriate as a public service AT NO COST.”

“Development support broadcast” has long been recognized as relating to Government development programmes.


  1. CERTAIN PERCENTAGE – is now limited

That vague “certain percentage” in the original Act, EXCLUDES “information issued by the Civil Defense Commission, the Guyana Police Force” etc., and therefore, could have been interpreted as requiring additional free broadcast time to the “certain percentage” to which I have already alluded..

The AMENDMENT seeks to place a maximum cap on the “certain percentage” which will now include notices of the Civil Defence Commission, Police Force, etc., and limits it to between one minute and sixty minutes daily.

The Amendment says in Section 8. (1) Every broadcasting agency shall broadcast public service programmes in the following manner-

(a) for a total of up to sixty minutes per day;

(b) between 6:00 hrs and 22:00 hrs; and

(c) free of cost.

The sixty minutes referred to shall INCLUDE time allotted for any –

(a) address to the Nation by the President;

(b) emergency notice or disaster warning issued by the Civil Defence Commission, the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service, the Minister of Public Health and the Government generally by any agency duly authorized.


  1. CLASSES OF LICENCE– now clearly defined


The ACT says in Section 17 (1): The Authority shall be responsible for the regulation, supervision and development of national broadcasting, including PRIVATE, PUBLIC and COMMUNITY broadcasting. And in Section 18, it adds: The Authority shall establish classes of licences.

The AMENDMENT provides for these “classes of licences” and creates a structure for their proper operation, as required by the Act.

It says in Section 21A that a television broadcasting service or a radio broadcasting service shall be of the following classes:-

  • Commercial, where 80% of revenue comes from advertisement and sale of airtime;
  • Non-commercial, where funding comes mainly from donors; and
  • Community, where a Board elected by a geographic area runs the station for the community and in its interest.

To accommodate these classes of operators, the AMENDMENT allows for zones to be created – primary, secondary and tertiary zones in various geographic locations to ensure that the entire country is covered by broadcasting from one medium or the other.

The GNBA is vested with powers to do these things and much more, as the ACT allows it to amend any condition of a licence on application of the licensee or on the Authority’s own motion; issue renewals of licences; suspend or revoke any licence; require licensees to carry public information broadcast as public service at no cost, etc.


  1. FEES– significantly reduced

Under a Schedule of the existing 2011 Act, all operators were required to pay a flat fee of $2,500,000 for a broadcasting licence, whether the agency has nationwide reach or is confined to a specified and limited location. The imposition by the former Government of an across-the-board $2.5 million fee, resulted in most licensees not paying the fees, and they have voluntarily become unlicensed, some since 2012. Reports indicate that broadcasters owe an estimated $125 million to the GNBA; and only eight (8) of them are in conformity with licensing requirements under law.

But the AMENDMENT relieves operators from what I had described in the National Assembly as “the kleptocratic obsession” of the former government to levy heavy fees. The Amendment substitutes a new Table of Fees that, except for a license to operate radio in the primary (populated) zone, significantly reduces the fees.

The new Fee for television in the primary zone is slashed to $1,200,000. The licence fees for secondary and tertiary zones are $600,000 and $300,000 respectively. These fees are also applicable to cable. A community radio licence fee is only $150,000.



The ACT contains in Section 19 the broadcasting policy for Guyana that ensures that Broadcasting services are effectively owned and controlled by –

  • (i) Guyanese nationals;
  • (ii) Guyanese nationals and CARICOM nationals: Provided that in the case of CARICOM nationals their ownership and control shall be subject to there being RECIPROCAL PROVISIONS governing broadcasting by the Member State of which the CARICOM national is a citizen..”

We know of cases where broadcasting licences have been ostensibly transferred to non-Guyanese nationals. In cases where such licensees had sold or transferred their broadcasting rights and interests, there would be need to review such transfers in keeping with requirements as regards (a) zoning and (b) status of transferees under the 2011 Act., Under the 2011 Act, a licence could not be transferred to any other person without the written consent of the GNBA.



The broadcasting policy in the ACT ensures compliance by broadcasters with the Constitution and laws of Guyana and requires them not to incite violence, ethnic, religious or cultural hostility. It provides for review of broadcasting rules that regulate content that violates the Constitution, stimulates sexual violence and abuses women’s and children’s rights etc.

The AMENDMENT amplifies this section, in keeping with new developments, and in Section 39B provides that a broadcasting agency shall not broadcast advertisements or programmes which contain HATE SPEECH, RACIAL INCITEMENT or TERROR THREATS.

This cannot be an interference with free speech! This is in keeping with the Guyana Constitution which, in Article 146 (3), states that “Freedom of expression does not relate to hate speech or other expressions, capable of exciting hostility”.

It is my strong and confident submission that freedom of the press or of expression is not violated where any law provides for an action to be taken in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for regulating broadcasting or television services.



Depending on the class of service or the zone for which the licence is granted, all broadcasters, including the State radio and television, have to fill out the new application forms that are part of the Broadcasting Regulations (the Amendment).

This was a requirement in 2011 as the Act stipulates that all legitimate broadcasters must submit application for continuation of broadcasting within 30 days of the said Act coming into effect. A person who wanted to start broadcasting service had to apply for a licence under the new conditions in the Act.

The 2017 AMENDMENT Bill re-applies this requirement for submission of application in keeping with the classes of licences, the zoning for operations and the adjusted fees for the different zones.

This is a practical measure, and logical within the context of the adjusted broadcasting landscape, which was done in full conformity with the existing Broadcasting law.

The Opposition-driven allegations that the amendments violate the Constitution, breach international treaties and conventions, “kill” freedom of the press and take away “proprietary interests” of broadcasters, are totally without merit, and form part of the partisan political propaganda against the need for modern legislative changes in Guyana.

The assent of His Excellency, President David Granger, to the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2017 cannot be delayed by vested and parochial political interests, and by misconceived or misinformed arguments. The amendments are required, with some urgency, in the public interest.

Article by Kaieteur News


– Letter to the Editor  

Dear Editor,
As one of the principal contributors to the shaping of the Broadcasting Amendment Bill (BAB) of 2017, I think it is necessary that I add my voice in an effort to proffer added context to the current debate surrounding its recent passage. It seems that the provision requiring Broadcasters to set aside one hour per day towards Government PSAs is the main source of discontent. Indeed, this provision is susceptible to misuse and given history of abuse of public information space over the last decade and a half it is not entirely unexpected that stakeholders will feel some disquiet.
In expressing this disquiet, it is hoped that none is so blind not to see that some of these new-found outbursts of abhorrence are laced with a generous brew of hypocrisy and guile. Several provisions requiring PSAs be aired have been part of the Broadcasting Act since 2011 and in a Bill that predated the Act by at least 2 years. Today all sorts of social creatures muted since then have emerged like gully creepers to gambol about the death of press freedom. I wish to ask, where were these badgers, who are now beating the drums of fear in cadences of vice and wailing their duplicitous death knell, these past 9 years? In principle, I support the sections requiring PSAs be aired free of cost however, I would have much preferred 30 mins per day instead of 60.
Having said that, I do not think either the government or the GNBA have offered sufficient context to assist in explaining why the BAB 2017 took its current shape. I therefore tender some additional insights for public consideration. 1. The BAB 2017 which modifies the BA 2011 is not intended to be a “stand alone” legislation in and of itself. It is proposed to be accompanied by guidelines, codes and a raft of regulations along with additional conditions attached to individual licenses all of which, after having been gazetted, will carry the force of law.
In this regard, the Act is merely an overarching framework and the other forms of legislation are intended to direct (both broadcasters and the GNBA) how these actions were to be fulfilled. For instance, the guidelines are supposed to detail further characteristics of PSAs e.g. No advertising of products, no promotion or mention of political eras or political parties or any other individual organization, no comparison of political performance etc. Further, these guidelines are supposed to provide context and mechanisms for sanctions e.g. setting out categories of offences from mild to severe and sanctions from written reprimand to suspension or revocation. In this vein, the government cannot just rack up any old political campaign speech and submit it to be aired as PSAs.
In filing an objection with the GNBA the Broadcaster can delineate the specific breaches as per subsidiary law. 2. Compulsory PSAs are a feature of many modern free open and progressive societies all around the world and it is preposterous to suggest that Guyana is so unique that it cannot utilize aspects of legislations, norms and practices of nations with whom we share similar legal and historical framework. 3. Some of the most progressive/advanced models of Broadcasting legislations around the world continue to be a work in progress and are modified, in some cases, multiple times per year to suit the changing shapes of technology and new challenges arising there from.
At the conception stage, this was taken into consideration and it was felt that the BA and its attending subsidiaries would go through several unavoidable changes during the imminent switch over to digital broadcasting. Therefore, there are many opportunities for adjustments and retuning, the BAB 2017 was not intended to be a one off, once-and-for-all, solution. 4. Even 5 years after the coming into force of the BA 2011 and the existence of the GNBA, broadcasting remains heavily under-regulated and it is high time the government stop paying lip service to sector reforms. The measures employed (in their current form) are both imperative and immediate. 5. Societies with a voluntary PSA system have strong Broadcasters and/or Motion Picture Associations with both hard and soft self-sanctions and self-regulations which Broadcasters generally need to adhere as a condition of their license. As it stands, Guyana has no functioning association of broadcasters which can be referred to in regulations.
Therefore, in its place, a definitive written provision needs to be made and not until such time that broadcasters are able to form themselves into a viable association with written rules for self-regulations will there be need to remove such provisions from the law. In societies with voluntary standards broadcasters must upon application for renewal of license prove that they met the minimum standards for airing PSAs as set out by their own Association. I do not know of any jurisdiction where airing of PSAs is entirely at the whim of individual broadcasters. At the time of assumption of the Chairmanship of GNBA I made available to the public a written vision statement in it is a stated aim to instigate the creation of an Association of Broadcasters.
I am deeply aware and appreciative of the pivotal role it should play in regulating broadcasting. As far as I am aware that is still a goal of the GNBA and by extension the Government of Guyana. 6. During the time of crafting the main provisions of the BAB 2017, the prevailing conviction was that the present government is not averse to the idea of the state gradually getting out of the broadcasting business. In the likelihood of this reality it will therefore be untenable that a Government is left without unhindered access to the national airwaves to directly communicate its programs and policies to the general population. 7.

After assuming the Chairmanship of the GNBA in 2015, it was found that the Authority was without any documented or Board approved financial regulations, Human Resource policies or any other administrative policies. In fact, the Board did not even have Rules of Procedures, required by law, to govern its own conduct and operation. There were no GNBA sponsored broadcasting codes or guidelines completed or in progress, apart from the Broadcasting Regulations of 2014 governing fee structure there were no other regulations in progress, there were no systematic written policy for judging applicants based on merits and licenses were issued without substantive additional conditions – it was a chaotic no holds barred situation. The broadcasting landscape (and the Authority itself) was being regulated through an I-say-so scheme.
At the time of leaving, all the aforementioned things were in an advance stage of preparation due mainly to my initiation. I admit that the current legislative framework is not perfect and needs several rounds of updates but given all the militating circumstances that currently exist, the recent passing of the BAB 2017, and its attending in-progress subsidiaries, is the most progressive and sincere step ever made towards real and impartial regulation of the Broadcasting sector since independence.
Leonard Craig

Letter to the Editor – Kaieteur News



Local broadcasters were urged to self-regulate or have the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) regulate them, with the warning that this would come with consequences.

This caveat was issued by Chairman of the GNBA Leslie Sobers, while he lectured members of the local broadcasting fraternity on their social responsibility of the content they broadcast, as he called on them to ensure the content they deliver is wholesome for their viewers. At a meeting with television broadcasters to discuss the roadmap for the transition from analog to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Guyana, the GNBA Chairman spoke to radio and television broadcasters on the seriousness of publicizing insensitive content to the public.

According to Sobers, broadcasters should be careful and be more responsible with the type of content that is broadcast to their listeners and viewers. He noted that since he has been chairman of the GNBA he had to reprimand several radio announcers and television stations on speaking and broadcasting lewd content, mispronunciation of words and airing inaccurate and insensitive information.According to Sobers, as long as content is being disseminated viewers or audiences, GNBA has a right to monitor broadcasters. “We have a responsibility to our people. At the GNBA we monitor to ensure that there is no harm coming the way of our citizens,” the chairman said.

During his presentation, the GNBA chairman said that broadcasters should also avoid disseminating material which might lead to crime, violence or civil disorder, in the society and rebuke viewers or audiences who call in to incite violence or fear. He said that though broadcasters have freedom to air content, that freedom requires an equal demonstration of responsibility. “As we enjoy freedom of expression we must exercise responsibility in the way we exercise freedom,” he noted.

Sobers said broadcasters should self-regulate and monitor the content they air. “Monitor yourselves by ensuring that you have a proper policy of what to broadcast… broadcasters must be able to sit and decide in their own minds whether this is appropriate or not, am I being responsible when I show this…?” Sobers related. He added that as there is self-regulation, broadcasters should be able to recognize what is needed to help development, and what should be brought and diffused to children and to the citizens.

The chairman said that if broadcasters do not self-regulate or monitor themselves, the GNBA will have to do it and it will come with consequences. He urged broadcasters to acquire a framework of self-regulation and to follow the Broadcasting Act.


Article by Stabroek News

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The GNBA welcomes your feedback, relative to these Guidelines. 

Contact information: 


Telephone No. 231-7367 /231-7366 /223-5007 

GNBA looks forward to hearing from you!