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.
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.
“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
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
PLEASE SEE LINK BELOW FOR DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR BROADCASTING
VISITORS ARE KINDLY ASKED TO NOTE THAT, WITH THE RECENT PASSAGE OF THE TOBACCO BILL NO. 5 OF 2017, THE TOBACCO ACT NOW SUPERCEDES WHAT IS PRESENTLY IN THE GUIDELINES RELATING TO THIS MATTER. THE GUIDELINES ARE BEING UPDATED TO REFLECT THIS DEVELOPMENT.
The GNBA welcomes your feedback, relative to these Guidelines.
Telephone No. 231-7367 /231-7366 /223-5007
GNBA looks forward to hearing from you!
The Ministry of Public Telecommunications has purchased three Spectrum Monitoring Systems, to better manage and trace frequencies in Guyana. The systems were commissioned at the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) building in Charlotte Street, Georgetown. The NFMU allocates radio and television licenses for the use of the spectrum.
Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes in her brief remarks said that the systems are a first and another important step towards boosting the telecommunications sector. “We can measure accurately how spectrum is being used, who is using that spectrum. We can bring transparency to the process. We can ensure that we reduce the illegal use of spectrum”, this will greatly aid the NFMU and the country overall.
The three spectrum monitoring systems include a fixed system, a transportable system and a mobile system. A spectrum monitoring system measures the magnitude of an input signal versus frequency within the full frequency range of the instrument.
Head of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) Valmiki Singh explained that the systems can work together or separately. The fixed station, located at Tukuba
Lodge, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is dedicated to monitoring frequency in Georgetown. The transportable system is attached to a trailer with an integrated outdoor cabinet, it is designed to operate as a satellite unit and can be taken on land to any area. The mobile station was retrofitted into a pick-up truck and is geared for rapid deployment.
Not only do radio and television stations use the spectrum, but taxi operators, ships, security forces and others for communications. Spectrum monitoring can effectively help enforce compliance with local and international radio traffic regulations.
This is to ensure that when police, radio stations, air traffic control and radio are all on the air at the same time, they do not cause mutual interference. This has the security advantage of fighting crime. Any factors jeopardising national security can be recognised in time by means of radio surveillance.
The three systems were bought from TIC Incorporated at an estimated GY$100M. Singh explained that, “to purchase a custom unit would have been more expensive.”
The Girls in ICT Social Media Launch held on Friday last ( April 07), in the Conference Room of the National Library, was an event, among a series of events planned by the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) to celebrate Girls in ICT Day 2017. This event was hosted by Officials of the NFMU.
Each of the officials presented specific aspects of the Social Media Launch and the work of the NFMU, relative to the celebration of Girls in ICT Day, 2017. Initially Ms. Shaneeza Khan welcomed the Media and representatives from the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA). Additionally, she outlined the presentations to be delivered by each of her colleagues and introduced the Managing Director, Mr. Valmikki Singh. Mr. Singh in his introductory statements, again welcomed the GNBA and members of the Media.
Subsequently, the Managing Director gave a history of the Girls in ICT, including NFMU’s participation in the development of girls in this particular field (ICT). Among his utterances he noted the fact the Girls in ICT day is celebrated the fourth Thursday in April of every year, including the NFMU’s encouragement of careers in the field of ICT. Mr. Singh also noted NFMU’s affiliation with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Following his brief presentation, Ms. Keren Boyal (Executive Assistant) was introduced to outline the activities planned by the NFMU for the month. In so doing, Ms. Boyal noted that one of the major events will be the upcoming Symposium on the 27th of April 2017. This event, she explained, will see the participation of 300 girls from various schools across Guyana. The slogan for that event is: ‘TECH NEEDS GIRLS’
This activity she further noted will aim to convince girls that Technology indeed does need girls. The following event will be a ‘Tech Day Camp’, aimed at teaching girls about the world of Technology. Finally, she noted that a ‘Girls in ICT Mentorship Luncheon’ is also a part of the list of activities. Importantly, Ms. Boyal noted that the GNBA hosted the ICT Mentorship event in the year 2015. On that noted Ms. Melissa Layne, Spectrum Engineer of the NFMU was introduced to deliver the final presentation.
Ms. Melissa Layne took that opportunity to express her passion for this particular field (ICT), she further presented the new Facebook page developed for Girls in ICT. Moreover, she explained the reason for the launch and the activity involved for young women to post on their new Facebook page, explaining why Tech needs girls, tag it, upload it and encourage others to like the post. The three posts with the most likes, she explained, will win a prize each. This activity is aimed at promoting the Facebook page and the need for girls in the field of Information and Communication Technology.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), in her quest to meet with Broadcast Operators throughout Guyana, conducted a successful session with the management of HBTV Channel 09, on Thursday last, at the Station’s location in Mandela Avenue, Georgetown. This session was led by dedicated officials of the GNBA, with the prime objective to listen and understand the challenges of this particular broadcaster, with the intention to address expressed challenges at the Board level.
Dr. Prudence Lewis- Bhola in her introductory presentation to the management of HBTV CH 09, explained the current state of the GNBA’s Board, and expressed optimism that the subject Minister will soon reconstitute and reconvene the new Board. In addition, she further noted that draft regulations for the broadcast sector have been developed, and will see the reduction of broadcast licence fees, as announced by the previous Board at its last interactive session held with broadcasters.
Relative to the challenges of this Station, the management of HBTV Channel 09 expressed that the station wishes to extend its services to include radio. This they noted, will make the station competitive and will allow HBTV CH 09 to contend with other stations that are offering both radio and television services. An application, they explained, has been made to the GNBA for a radio licence.
Dr. Lewis- Bhola noted that she remains optimistic that the Board will address this matter when it reconvenes. In addition, the management of the station raised the matter of the payment of both Spectrum and Broadcast Licence fees and the struggle to do so; the broadcaster asked for this to be improved and requested some consideration in this regard.
GNBA’s management team noted the concerns expressed. Additionally, Dr. Lewis- Bhola explained that a Memorandum of Understanding was developed to govern GNBA’s affiliation with the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), especially with regard to the communication of information to Broadcasters. The CEO explained the process of attaining a licence and the purpose of the NFMU, relative to the licensing process.
The management of HBTV CH 09 expressed delight to have had the opportunity this outreach created, where their concerns were addressed in the presence of GNBA’s vibrant, youthful and knowledgeable officials. GNBA’s CEO took that opportunity to commend HBTV CH 09 for the content broadcast on their television station, and expressed confidence that the station will continue to do well, especially given the new guidelines that will soon take effect. Moreover, the station was educated on areas for improvement, relative to good taste and decency of content broadcast.
The GNBA intends to continue such outreach sessions throughout 2017. This initiative is the brainchild of Dr. Prudence Lewis- Bhola, who feels it is imperative to first understand the challenges of broadcasters, in a concerted effort to address their expressed challenges, especially those intimately affecting the respective stations, all in an effort the develop the broadcast landscape in Guyana.
Continuous efforts are being made by the management of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), to engage Broadcast Operators. Management officials of the GNBA met with Mr. Jacob Rambarran, owner of RBS Channel 13, on Wednesday last (Feb 15, 2017), at his broadcast station located in Republic Park, Georgetown.
This session was led by GNBA’s Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Prudence Lewis- Bhola, who outlined the purpose for GNBA’s visit and noted the state of the broadcast industry, with great confidence that the Board will be poised to regularize the sector when it reconvenes. To this end, the CEO gave Mr. Rambarran an opportunity to speak to matters relative to his station and challenges he may be facing as a broadcaster.
The major challenge expressed by Mr. Rambarran was the matter of the exorbitant broadcast licence fees. Mr. Rambarran lamented that at the Board’s last meeting with broadcasters, they promised a reduction in fees, but the GNBA continues to request 2.5 Million Dollars.
Dr. Lewis- Bhola took that opportunity to bring clarity to the matter. She explained that the current Broadcasting Act of 2011 stands. Therefore, she posited, until the new regulations come to the rescue, and those regulations are gazetted, the current law applies. She further noted that other broadcasters are honoring their obligations under the existing Act; she also stated that the GNBA is obligated under the Broadcasting Act to call for fees in accordance with the amount stipulated ($2.5 M or 3.5 % of the previous year’s revenue, whichever is greater).
The CEO explained to Mr. Rambarran that a new Board will soon manage the affairs of the Broadcasting Authority; therefore these outreaches form part of a strategic plan to update the files of broadcasters, to duly sensitize the Board of the concerns of broadcasters and the state of the industry. Consequently, it was strongly advocated that RBS CH 13 brings itself in compliance with the Broadcasting Act of 2011, since the Board will be presented with the necessary intelligence, when making critical decisions that will impact both individual broadcasters and the broadcast sector as a whole.
The CEO remains passionate about these outreach sessions and intends to continue to reach out to broadcasters, since it is critical to understand the needs of the industry first, before decisions are made to bring transformation and development.
The dedicated officials of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority participated in a consultative forum held last Wednesday(January 18) at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, with stakeholders within the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. Discussions were focused on ways the industry can be improved, in light of a liberalized sector, with a new Telecommunications Agency to be developed within the first quarter of this year ( 2017).
Broadcasters present took that opportunity to ask important questions relative to the transition from Analog to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). More specifically, with reference to the proposed deadline, year 2020 for the complete switch-off of Analogue Television Systems, questions were brought to the fore on this eventuality.
From all indications, it was noted from the Ministry’s advisors and consultant, with the agreement of stakeholders, that the proposed timeframe for the official transfer to Digital seems unrealistic given the unpreparedness of the industry. It was importantly noted that education is critical at this juncture, with regard to the implications of this transition, and what it means for broadcasters.
During this process of transition, suggestions were made that the GNBA and the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) should communicate on matters relating to broadcasters, in a collaborative effort to effectively address their concerns.
Dr. Prudence Lewis- Bhola (CEO) explained that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed by the GNBA to facilitate effective communication between the two entities. In addition, she asked probing questions and made important observations relative to the roadmap designed for the country’s transition to Digital. Her major concern was the matter of Broadcasters not being equipped with the necessary infrastructure to facilitate this transition. She noted, at this point, it is prudent for stakeholders to be sensitized of the requirements.