Free-to-air TV is usually given first option on nationally important events

Dear Editor,

My letter concerning the Purchase of Broadcast [free-to-air] rights for major national events captioned `Broadcast Authority should implement rule where only broadcasters can buy sporting events which have big following’ published in the SN issue of May 3rd excited the following response from someone calling himself PeterR in the comments section to the letter “Some of these fellas are dinosaurs they write like if they have the knowledge and the authority, here in US, the content owner decides who shows the sports and the networks that are on cable or satellite will usually have the rights why would they give it to a Free to Air station for one game or series when they depend on the monthly income year round from subscribers to keep their operations afloat ? The FTA TV owners are basically pirating all the content from the owners charging advertising and want the Broadcast Authority to endorse and legitimize this as a policy.”

PeterR’s submission is a little obscure and is an indication of his level of learning in these matters.

But it seems that he is of the opinion that cable in the US and other countries can and do buy the rights for national sporting events which we dinosaurs in Guyana are not aware of; might I direct his attention to the Wikipedia on line dictionary/encyclopaedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-siphoning_law which offers us the following information “Anti-siphoning laws and regulations are designed to prevent pay television broadcasters from buying monopoly rights to televise important and culturally significant events before free-to-air television has a chance to bid on them. The theory is that if such a monopoly was allowed, then the poor would be unable to view the important and culturally significant events. Generally the laws allow Pay-TV to bid for such monopoly rights only if free-to-air television has declined to bid on them. Anti-siphoning in the United States was introduced by the FCC in 1975 and was soon overturned as unconstitutional; nevertheless the National Football League has an anti-siphoning policy whereby All NFL regular season games, except two games each week, are broadcast by networks. Australia’s Anti-siphoning laws were introduced in 1992 and remain in force to date”. “In the United Kingdom where the Ofcom Code on Sports and other Listed and Designated Events regulates that coverage of certain major sporting events (known as “Category A” events, covering certain major domestic events and major international competitions such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup) must be broadcast primarily on a free-to-air channel (but can share coverage with pay channels)”.

I am not going to chastise PeterR much, except to say that perhaps he should investigate some form of on line learning to remove him from the intellectual fog within which he resides.

Editor, I may seem a bit harsh on PeterR but I have seen this phenomenon over and over, it seems to be a common affliction of Guyanese living abroad, to believe that by the simple fact of them living in a developed country, means that they have somehow miraculously been transformed into a repository of all knowledge, and those of us left here are illiterate, uninformed and foolish.

It’s not true PeterR, I lived in America for two years and people here in good old Guyana are every bit as informed and knowledgeable as people in the US, in fact when it comes to current international issues I believe that on an average we are far more informed. We for example still read newspapers at a higher level as a percentage of our population than the people in the US or Canada where only 9% get their news from the newspapers, whilst 55% are more likely to get their information from TV and little else, which is usually not a very good source to fundamentally understand the entire issue at hand.

 Yours faithfully,

Tony Vieira

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