GNBA urges broadcasters to be more responsible

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Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leslie Sobers has flagged broadcasters who peddle inaccuracies on air or fail to properly conduct interviews as he urged them to be more responsible.

“We have persons appearing on air who cannot speak properly, persons who peddle misinformation, television hosts who fail to control their interviewees, who can’t even conduct a proper interview or talk show,” Sobers told broadcasters at the Agency’s third stakeholders’ engagement recently at the Herdmanston Lodge in Queenstown, Georgetown.

Sobers said there are instances where a talk show host allows an uninformed guest to preach about conflict of interest with glaring uncertainty of the doctrine.

The GNBA has recorded over 165 breaches on radio and television including profanities, inaccurate reporting, graphic details, substance abuse or irresponsible hosting of programmes at certain time of the day.

Participants of the GNBA’s stakeholders meeting

The Authority has since sent letters to defaulters but according to Sobers, the broadcasters have accused the GNBA of stifling freedom of expression.

“Expression is free; the electromagnetic spectrum is not. Guyanese are free to express their opinions and creative abilities in several forms but not to tarnish the reputation of citizens, provoke a breach of the peace, or annoy his/her neighbour,” the GNBA Chairman said.

The regulatory body has taken to frequently engaging broadcasters to raise the standard of broadcasting locally, cognizant of its impact on the citizenry.

He said it is time that broadcasters recognize that Broadcasting can be a very powerful tool in evoking social change.

“It is time that we move away from the old model of being profit oriented without invigorating local talent, local conversations [and] young enthusiasm,” Sobers said.

Among the suggestions of the Chairman is to have closed captioning on some programmes and signing at one major newscast per day to facilitate persons with hearing impairment.

Starting this year, the GNBA will be publicly recognizing Broadcasters who demonstrate desired level of consciousness and are fully compliant as an encouragement for others to join.

The GNBA is an Authority created by the Broadcasting Act passed by the Parliament of Guyana in 2011 to regulate radio and television content.

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