|Opposition outraged by Sharma TV suspension||| Print ||
|Written by Kwesi Isles|
|Friday, 30 September 2011 22:11|
The political opposition has reacted with shock to the latest suspension imposed on CNS TV 6 by President Bharrat Jagdeo with coalition APNU calling it an “outrage” while the AFC has dubbed it a “brutal” act.
The suspension is the third imposed on the privately-run station which is operated by Chandra Narine Sharma and takes effect from Monday. All of the actions have been for broadcast violations.
“I think it’s an outrage; we have great respect for the constitution and freedom of expression is guaranteed under the constitution. It is our view in the Partnership for National Unity that CN Sharma played a very important role and he has a large workforce,” APNU presidential candidate David Granger told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) Friday night.
Sharma employs some 30 persons.
According to Granger, the move represents a violation of the constitution.
“I do not believe that a single person should be able to overrule a media house in that way, should be able to keep a media house off the airwaves for such a long period of time without the opportunity for the operator of that media house to appeal the decision before the courts.”
Granger added that if Sharma committed an offence under the laws then he should have been prosecuted in the courts.
As it relates to the impact of Sharma’s ban on the opposition getting their messages out as the election season deepens the APNU standard bearer said it was obvious to them that the government was looking to silence dissenting voices.
Both APNU and AFC aired programmes on CNS TV6.
AFC’s presidential candidate was more candid with his feelings on the matter.
“Press freedom in Guyana today with that kind of suspension is now also what is called oppression of the political parties. The suspension was timed especially by Jagdeo to offend the political parties that play their programmes on his (Sharma’s) TV station. In this campaign period that is going to be a tremendous hindrance for our word being propagated to the public whose minds we want to capture,” he said noting that the CNS TV 6 signal had a wide reach.
‘This is an obscene, a real ridiculous sentence coming from the president. But he is exhibiting his power knowing that he will not be there again so he’s going to take pleasure in doing all this nonsense. I treat this as the president disdainfully dealing with his opponents, Sharma being one of them, in a manner that is totally brutal; this is a brutal display by Jagdeo.”
According to Ramjattan, it might have been expected that the outgoing president would have exhibited some magnanimity and ensured that there was some “pleasantness about his departure.”
“It just goes to show what kind of political animal he is; it was in his hands to simply gave a reprimand but he did not because he wants his political party to win again and to ensure that that happens he’s ensuring that the other opposition parties which could get their word out there are not going to be allowed to do so,” Ramjattan said.
The AFC candidate said the penalty came as a “shock” to him and he urged Sharma to take the matter to court to get a conservatory order. Sharma has indicated that he will not be moving to the court since he believes it would be a waste of time.
Sharma learnt of the suspension at a meeting with President Jagdeo Friday afternoon. On Tuesday the television operator had received an invitation to the meeting from Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon and he later told reporters that he had also received an unsigned letter in the same package informing him that he had been suspended for one year.
The Office of the President has denied sending that letter.
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