GNBA, GECOM meet to discuss elections partnership

Executives from the Guyana National B r o a d c a s t i n g Authority (GNBA) and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) met on Thursday to discuss collaboration for the upcoming March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections. Attending the meeting on behalf of the GNBA were Board Chairman Leslie Sobers, Board Member and Chair of the Monitoring and Compliance Committee Jocelyne Josiah, Board Secretary Violet Boyal, Head of the Monitoring and Compliance Department Christina Bianchini, and Public Relations Officer Joel Ally. On GECOM’s side were Chairman Justice Claudette Singh, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, and Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward. Sobers gave a synopsis of the mandate of the GNBA and the scope of the authority with respect to its monitoring parameters and capacity. The Chairman alluded to the fact that GECOM has a wider mandate as it relates to monitoring during the elections period, and it is the intention of the Authority to collaborate with the Guyana Elections Commission and the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) during the elections period. He went on to explain that the Authority, similar to the ERC and GECOM, monitors for content that may incite racial hatred or crime and public disorder, with respect to broadcasting. He pointed out that enshrined in the Broadcasting Act, there is a fairness doctrine which means that broadcasters, when dealing with controversial issues, must cater for balance and fairness with respect to treatment, time and space allocation. Board member Josiah informed GECOM representatives that there is an entire department at the GNBA that monitors content. She proffered that the Code of Conduct for GECOM needs to be reviewed and updated in preparation for the upcoming elections; GECOM representatives agreed. PRO Ally informed the meeting that the populace is gradually moving away from the mainstream media and social media is continuously growing. He added that reporters in addition to signing on to the Media Code of Conduct should also reflect those principles stipulated in the Code of Conduct when posting content and opinions on social platforms; being cognisant of the fact that they have an influence on their followers.