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China TV deal; Prime Minister Sam Hinds has his say – 18th Feb 2013

cctvIn a pre-emptive strike hoping to let the issue of China TV go away, the Prime Minister, Sam Hinds, had his say today. And he has further complicated the matter by saying that it is NCN that has the licence to broadcast and not CCTV. He claimed that CCTV has no licence to broadcast in Guyana. The licensed broadcaster, National Communications Network (NCN) Inc., is relaying CCTV programmes for 18 hours or more per day, on one of its assigned channels.

The Prime Minister did not say explicitly whether NCN applied through the National Frequency Management Unit or the Guyana National Broadcast Authority for the licence. He declared however, that NCN would re-broadcast specific programmes of CCTV over one of its (NCN’S) assigned channels. This is a business arrangement of NCN the Prime Minister said. At that time, Channel 29/Cable 80 was earmarked to NCN for part-use in re-broadcasting CCTV programmes, but when the Learning Channel came along in early 2011, NCN began utilizing that previously earmarked Channel for the Learning Channel. Consequently, in 2012, when the re-broadcasts were to begin, Channel 27/Cable 78 was instead assigned as a substitute the Prime Minister added.

He equated the arrangement to prior TV commercial arrangements in Guyana where foreign programming like the Trinity Broadcasting Network used local channels to air their programs.

Questions have been swirling around the broadcasts of CCTV in Guyana in arrangements that appeared less than transparent when broadcasters and prospective applicants were being asked to comply with new regulations. The International Agreement with NCN and CCTV was compared too, to the tussle in Region ten, over the Government agreement on a Broadcast Frequency for the RDC. There the Government has taken control of two frequencies one of which the region is claiming.

Today’s response by the Prime Minister confirms that the Government of Guyana, via NCN, has allocated at least three frequencies to itself in the Regions three and four.

The National Frequency Management Unit has been asked to indicate what frequencies have been allotted and what are available to Guyanese and other Caricom Broadcasters. The questions are on the order paper in the National Assembly this month February.

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