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    October 20

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EDITORIAL - CBC owes us 'Best' explanation

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 04 December 2010

bestandmason

THE CARIBBEAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION (CBC) owes the public an explanation for curtailing the popular Best and Mason radio show. In a letter dated November 26 to co-hosts Andrew Mason and Carlisle Best from CBC’s general manager Lars Soderstrom, it was stated that the corporation had decided to discontinue the Tuesday programme in the coming year. “As a result, no more programmes will be aired after December 31, 2010. To this end, your contract for the provision of call-in host services will also terminate on the said date (December 31, 2010) and will not be renewed,” the letter said. No reason was given for the move. As a badly haemorrhaging public-funded entity that is mandated to promote Barbadian programming whether it be culture, music, sports,  feature presentations or talk shows, CBC  is obliged to clear the air as to why the widely listened to sports programme that has been running for 15 years has been axed like that. What makes the CBC decision more bewildering is that the show is supported by some advertising, so by cutting it they could lose this revenue stream at a time when advertisers have become increasingly tight-fisted in the face of an enduring recession. CBC also needs to set the record straight to save its image. For years it has been seen as a political football to be kicked around by whichever party is in power, and this has been manifested in the manner in which its news and feature presentations are packaged. If it is a question of restructuring the programme and the hosts were unwilling to do that, Soderstrom should say. If the issue is about costs, he should disclose that too. If there are legal issues regarding the hosts, he should tell about these as well. This may really be a storm in a teacup, but CBC’s silence as to the reasons why they intend to shelve the programme will give its opponents political fodder. That’s why Soderstrom should not keep quiet. To do so would make it seem as if the decision is really a political directive, as some have suggested. If it is indeed a political order, this would raise the question of freedom of speech and association in this country with a Government in power under which, ironically, a draft of a Freedom of Information Act has been discussed at town hall styled meetings across the country. Mason, one of the Caribbean’s leading cricket commentators, said he believed the decision to close the show, which started in May 1995, may have resulted from the controversy surrounding his invitation to former Barbados Labour Party Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch to be a guest last August 17. “Democracy in this country is under threat and the state-owned corporation is for all Barbadians and to try to attempt to stop Noel Lynch from coming on the programme was wrong,” Mason said. Since Mason expressed his thoughts, others have weighed in on the matter, most notably long-standing parliamentarian Rawle Eastmond and president of the People’s Empowerment Party, David Comissiong. If CBC wants to be viewed as having any credibility as a source of information for other than Government propaganda they should clearly state why they think the life of the programme is over.

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