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Mia Mottley: Opposition considering suing CBC over lack of airtime

Opposition party of Barbados at loggerheads with its lone TV station over airtime. Is it time for a another non-governmental control TV station in Barbados, or will that make too much sense?

25 Jul 2010, 10:06 PM

By: gop

Miss Mia Mottley, and the Opposition party of Barbados, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is considering suing the lone Barbados television station over lack of airtime.

In a report in the country's Sunday Sun newspaper, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is asking, to be sued, or not to be sued, that is the question put before attorneys-at-law Leslie Haynes, QC, and Donna Symmonds who have already been briefed, and now their advice is awaited by the party.

Miss Mottley believes the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation's refusal of broadcast time to the BLP was not only an attack on democracy, but was tantamount to a contravention of section 20 (1) of Barbados' Constitution.

Protection of Freedom of Expression

Section 20 (1) of Barbados' Constitution is found under the heading Protection of Freedom of Expression. This subsection states that except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interferences and freedom from interference with his correspondence or other means of communication.

If what Miss Mottley is saying is true. Could it mean that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is putting the constitutional rights of all citizens of Barbados at risk by hindering freedom to receive ideas and information without interference? Can political parties be guilty of preventing the freedom of expression by maintaining CBC as the lone TV station, which is chiefly the mouth piece of any political party in Barbados which has formed the government?

Maybe this move by the Opposition Leader might reveal her thoughts on another TV station in Barbados which could effectively compete with the government station, and create a more democratic playing field. Will this be her political promise for 2013?

Miss Mottley recalls that under the BLP's administration, the DLP's lunchtime lectures and Sunday branch meetings received full vent at CBC.

This being the case (pun very much intended) in Barbados, what is needed in Barbados is a privately owned TV station which could more effectively explore news from both sides of the divide without fear, or favour.

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