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EDITOORIAL: It’s time the Government let cbc go

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITOORIAL: It’s time the Government let cbc go

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If the feedback from NATION online readers is anything to go by, the taxpayers of this country are not enamoured of the Government’s intended $40.6 million lifeline to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
The loan is to finance MultiChoice TV equipment, consolidate debt obligations to the National Insurance Board and Value Added Tax Department, and assist in financing 2011 to 2014 capital expenditure programme.
One reader referred to Government’s trumpeted “convoluted justifications” with which he was not impressed. Another wondered how it was possible to run a monopoly into a loss position of $76 million.
Another said it boggled the mind that a Government could be advised to get rid of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados and the Barbados National Bank, money-making entities, and grudgingly keep grip of the faltering CBC.
These opinions apart, Parliament Tuesday night approved new monies for CBC, but not before Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made it clear the corporation would not be privatized under his watch.
To the bewilderment of some, he said the agenda for which the CBC had been established by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 1963, had not yet been exhausted.
The question is: what can that agenda be? Surely, it cannot be free expressed opinion since all post-Independence Governments in Barbados have been tried and found guilty of using the CBC – in existence for 48 years – to suppress the views of the Opposition.
Those with short memories will have empathized, during this week’s debate, with former Attorney General Dale Marshall, Ronald Toppin and others on the Barbados Labour Party side in their scathing condemnation of CBC’s one-sided reporting on political matters In fact, Mr Toppin was the most outrageous of all when he not only intimated that the CBC?Evening News was a propaganda programme for the DLP?Government ministers, but figured that as far as coverage went, CBC was now at its lowest.
But for those with a longer view of things, the attack and counterattack in the House of Assembly on Tuesday might very well have been the scene with the BLP?as the Government and DLP members as complainants.
For the good of the country, this nonsense has simply got to stop! Clearly, greater political maturity needs to be brought to bear in our public affairs that would allow for the exercise of professionalism and balanced reporting at CBC.
In Britain, the taxpayers fund the BBC, but it is very instructive that the British government does not seek to control it. Neither should our Government seek to control the editorial agenda of CBC.
We believe the time has come to end CBC’s monopoly on local television. And why not? It is a proven fact that the opinions of both the Government and the Opposition better co-exist in private media.