Sharma mulls move to court over suspension

Channel 6 owner CN Sharma may move to the courts to secure an injunction against the recent four-month suspension instituted by President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Addressing a small gathering outside Channel 6’s Robb and Wellington streets studio, Geoffrey Sankies, the prime ministerial candidate for the Justice For All Party (JFAP), indicated that this was an option being considered. He said though that other avenues needed to be looked at because of the nature of the government. A committee set up to deal with the suspension is said to be mulling over the various options.

Earlier, PNCR leader Robert Corbin said that he fully endorsed the idea mooted by one lady for a “ten-thousand-man march”.  He said that this would send an important message to the government that this was not just a political issue.

Sharma has been off air since Monday 6 pm following President Jagdeo’s decision on Friday. It was sparked by a May 4, 2011 Anthony Vieira commentary which was aired on the television station. A complaint was made to the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (ACB) which recommended that the station have its licence suspended for eight months. The PNCR, however, has questioned the constitutionality of the ACB with the party saying that its nominee Ron Chase no longer had its confidence.

Corbin indicated last evening that today a meeting will be held at the Stabroek Market before groups assemble outside State House and the National Communications Network (NCN). Corbin said the political parties, trade unions, civil society and religious groups would be present at the rally.

Meantime, Corbin said that on Tuesday, NCN had written to APNU’s presidential candidate David Granger indicating to him  that the station will be arranging special programmes weekly and would be inviting representatives from the political parties to speak on various issues. Corbin insisted this was just part of a ploy by the government. The opposition parties have long since complained about the inability to have their views expressed via the state media.

Earlier in the day APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) said that the suspension of CNS Channel 6 before election could only be seen as an attempt by the administration to silence all voices of dissent.

“The combined political opposition, along with the religious community, civil society and the trades union movement, wish to express our deep disappointment with the suspension of the broadcasting license of CNS 6 for a period of four months” the statement said.

According to the statement, the explanation offered by President Jagdeo is intended to cloud the real intention behind the suspension: the silencing of all voices of dissent.

“The very fact that the controversial Vieira commentary was also aired on another channel, but no such action was taken against that channel, evidences the reality that CNS 6 is the victim of sustained government harassment and persecution,” the statement said. Given that the controversial commentary is currently engaging the attention of the court, the parties said that the suspension “indeed flies in the face of the procedural sanctity of the judicial process.

“It is a shameful breach of all the rules, values and conventions of the democratic societal model,” the release said.
“We believe, moreover, that his suspension effectively vitiates all the lofty ideals recently promulgated by Gecom in its media code of conduct,” the statement said. According to the statement, this matter should immediately engage the attention of the commission, since it represents a major jeopardy for the holding of elections that are free and fair.

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