The local religious television programme which was pulled from the air in Linden following complaints that the content of a recent broadcast was perceived as attacking the government of Guyana will be back from Sunday after the decision was revisited by senior management of National Communications Network (NCN).
“It’s difficult to have people who don’t go to church evaluate a church programme because the word of God has got to be spiritually discerned,” one pastor observed.
One of the scriptures quoted on the programme that was perceived to have targeted senior functionaries in the government was: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness, against principalities and rulers of darkness in high places.”
The topic of the programme was “Poverty getting to the heart of it”. The religious programme ‘Up Close and Personal’ with host pastor of the Fruits of Calvary Assembly of God Church, Renis Morian, missed one week in its regular broadcast schedule following a call to the producer Spere Lewis, who is also a senior member of the church.
In an interview with Morian on September 23, he said that he was informed by Brother Lewis that a member of the NCN Linden management had called him advising that they should not prepare any programme for the regular Sunday broadcast as it was no longer being allowed. “The first thing I asked was what’s the reason, he said no reason was given,” said Morian.
The pastor immediately summoned a meeting of his board members and told them what had transpired. A decision was taken not to take the matter to the press until the matter was over but rather to relate the issue to the leaders of all the churches in Region 10 and a number of others in other parts of the country.
“Sunday was a national day of prayer, we made contact with Georgetown also and on Monday the whole view was to contact all the churches in Guyana.”
Pastor Morian said that on Monday he met with NCN’s Martin Goolsarran on the matter.
The discussion was described as very cordial and candid, and resulted in them reviewing the CD in contention the following day. On Wednesday NCN’s Linden manager Andrew McBean informed Morian that the programme will be back on air effective this Sunday.
“When the tape was reviewed by Mr. Goolsarran I got the undertaking that everything was ok.”
Morian said that if anyone or group should have been offended by the scripture, it would be the pastors to whom the message was directed.
“I was saying to pastors that they need to park their cars and get among the poor and bring relief to them because Sunday morning services don’t bring relief truly to the poor and the church is the voice of the poor.”
He said that the church has a contract with NCN which has set parameters for the airing of religious programmes and he would have expected if he had stepped out of those guidelines he would have been written to or called in.
“… but to arbitrarily pull the church programme off the air, in no civilized society those things are done, it’s a retrogressing step for us in Guyana to do that…”
Asked if he thought that the decision had anything to do with him being a Regional Democratic Councillor appointed by the People’s National Congress, Morian said, “I don’t know because the fact of the matter is that I have been sitting on the council as a member of the community. I am not a card-bearing member of no party, I am there because of my professional ability in the area of project management and disaster management.”
He said that prior to accepting the position offered by the PNCR he was approached to sit on the council to represent the present government but was deterred by the talk of perks.
“I am not involved in any perks business. I am going to get on the council anyhow but I am not going there for any corrupt or nefarious activities.”