APNU says will keep pressing for balanced press coverage

– GINA concerned over ‘threat’

APNU says it will continue to seek balanced coverage from the National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA) and a statement made by its leader David Granger in this regard has been viewed by GINA as a grave threat.

Granger said at a press conference held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Hadfield Street, on Friday that Head of APNU’s Communications Department Mark Archer had discussed the allocation of air time to the coalition to enlighten the public on its position on national interest issues with NCN’s CEO Michael Gordon.

Granger noted that since 2012 the coalition has been engaging NCN and GINA toward more balanced coverage. This, he added, was conveyed to Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman.

As a result of the lack of balance, the parliamentary opposition had over the past two years voted against the monies being allocated to the two state-agencies in the national budget. And on Friday Granger said that if the two agencies don’t hear, they will; he paused here and persons in the room completed the sentence, “they will feel.” It was this that GINA referred to in a press release issued yesterday, attributing the entire sentence to Granger.

GINA said it regarded the statement as a threat to its existence and the well-being of its staff and was in the “process of registering its concern with the related authority.” The agency said it believed the comments “may not be devoid of security implications for its employees…”

Granger had also stated on Friday that “There is evidence that Finance Minister Ashni Singh spent money on NCN and GINA which was not approved by the National Assembly,” and this was engaging the attention of the Committee of Privileges.

GINA said in its statement that it remained mindful of the inconsiderate statements made by opposition members as regards the 2012 budget cuts. Quoting them as saying “so what” and “collateral damage” with respect to “loss of jobs” over the cuts, GINA said this was wanton disregard of its employees’ right to work at a place of their choice among other things.

Nevertheless, the agency said given the final ruling made by Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang, the opposition’s action in 2012 and 2013 and what Granger was currently advocating was “an expedition in unconstitutionality and non-adherence to the rule of law.”

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