demerara waves: The long-awaited broadcast legislation, tabled by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, lays down a GUY$1 million fine, one year jail and forfeiture of equipment if persons are caught broadcasting without a license.
“The Bill is another instance of enhancing transparency in Government and the promotion of freedom of expression. It shall be construed and applied in a manner consistent with the right of freedom of expression and journalistic ethics, the provision and production of quality and balanced information for the Guyanese people,” according to the 57-page draft law tabled by Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds.
If a complaint is made against a station, the licence could be suspended pending determination.
Potential content restrictions arise as the legislation specifically mandates that radio and television content must be fair, balanced and accurate and wherever possible include “first-hand information from credible documentation or official spokespersons or fully attributable eye-witnessed sources. The reporting of news, the law states, should be objective wide-ranging and well-informed and the main differing views should be given due weight in the period during which the controversy is active.
The privacy of the individual and private lives of individuals shall be respected in all cases, permitting intrusions only if it served a greater good.
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