Court quashes ‘premature’ $2.5M licensing fee on existing broadcasters

Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang on Friday quashed a decision to impose a $2.5 million licensing fee on existing television broadcasters, who were served letters to pay the fee last year by the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA).

The decision was delivered based on a challenge by broadcasters to have the GNBA show cause why a decision to impose a $2.5 million TV licence fee should not be quashed.

Stabroek News was told that Justice Chang, in handing down his ruling, said that the letters were “prematurely” issued to the existing broadcasters and that the court had considered that the Broadcasting Regulations 2013 were instituted after the applicants had started legal proceedings in the court.

Therefore, he said the authority could not have been acting on the basis of the regulations, since the Broadcasting Act makes no provision to give the minister power to make regulations which involved retrospective financial compulsions.

This newspaper was told that Justice Chang said the regulation could only come into effect from the financial year of 2014 and thus the regulation which seeks to be effective from the establishment of the Act in 2012 was quashed.

He stated that the grant fees applied to new not existing broadcasters.

 

 

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