The resignation by three journalists at TVG 28 exposes a bigger issue that a television or radio licence could not be issued to an entity only for the personal and private agenda of the licensee. TV and radio operate on the national spectrum and they must serve the needs and necessity of the people, not the owners.
It shows that the station’s owner Ramroop is not a fit and proper person to whom a licence could be transferred or issued seemingly out of friendship with Bharrat Jagdeo, a former president.
I applaud Leana Bradshaw, Whitney Persaud and Sabatini Daniels for their courageous stand not to be used as pawns in a game of personal vendetta and for defending the ethics of journalism. But this misuse of the spectrum has cost them their livelihood and threatened their profession so the wider society, including the private sector, should come to their rescue.
As Minister of Information, I supported worker share (20%) in ownership of the Guyana Chronicle and had exhorted linotypists not to set articles that attacked journalists or promote racism. I reminded George Barclay of this recently even before these media workers resigned.
But this disease of misuse of public assets has long infected the state media which have been turned into partisan propaganda outlets noticeably under the Jagdeo and Ramotar presidencies. Journalists work under fear and pressure, and are forced to practise self-censorship.
We need a thunder of protest for an end to the attack on the right of journalists to practise their profession free from manipulation by private interests. Iana Seales is right: media barons such as Ramroop could have the sweat of journalists, not their soul.