Nagamootoo who has been criticised by some for allegedly saying that he does not favour the revocation of licenses was speaking against the background of media reports which he said misrepresented views he expressed at a function last Friday.
“Where licenses had been given out to those who never held a camera in their hands; where licenses were given out to broadcast to those who had no track record in broadcasting and where we have not love and unity, but the putrid air and scent of hate and division and rancour, we can correct that, not by shutting down those who have been wrongly given licenses, but opening the airwaves and allowing the window of fresh air to touch our broadcasting in Guyana.
Not that we may not shut down or we should not. I am not saying that. It is not my job. That is for the broadcasting authority to do, but I am just saying that I would rather see more stations come on board, more people who have the wherewithal, should have the opportunity to do so via community stations or national reach, providing they pay the fees according to the zone in which they belong.”
The Prime Minister sought to underscore was that there are several applications for broadcast licenses, which were ignored and bypassed during the tenure of the previous government and that this ought to be corrected post haste.
“It is for this reason that Prime Minister Nagamootoo, in a meeting with the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority, urged the authority to speed up the process of issuing broadcast licenses.
Specifically, Prime Minister Nagamootoo said, “[not that we may not shut down or we should not [shut down]. I am not saying that. It is not my job. That is for the broadcasting authority to do…” the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said in its statement.
The OPM states that the Broadcasting Act of 2011 does not vest powers of revocation of licenses with the Minister of Information, which is in the Prime Minister portfolio.
“The Prime Minister was and remains more concerned about how to contain and correct what he described as “the putrid air” and “scent of hate and division and rancour” on pro-opposition radio and television channels.
This, the Prime Minister said, could be achieved, in the short-term, by “opening the airwaves” and “allowing the windows of fresh air to touch our broadcasting in Guyana.”