Channel 5 responds to government advisory

The volume of support for this station has been overwhelming in the past twenty-four hours. As you know, Government on Tuesday announced what it says was a “suspension of normal relations with this station.” Since then the reaction has been fast and furious by our viewers at home and beyond our borders, including those international and regional affiliates with whom we are partners, on what is seen as a threat to the independence of the robust and independent media. In this context, we are writing to the government press office pointing out that their understanding of the factual position on the broadcast of the Belmopan Weekly is incorrect. We are drawing to their attention that the government has in fact misrepresented Clause 19 of the conditions of the License. Government writes that “the Licensee shall provide to the government one hour per week broadcasting time, free of cost, for broadcasting public service messages and programs produced by or channeled through the Ministry of Information. The allocation of such time shall be determined by the Ministry of Information.” What government did not say is that Clause 19 also states that “the actual time of broadcast should be determined in consultation with the Licensee.” What’s more, a copy of Belmopan Weekly was indeed and in fact aired by this station on the morning of Sunday, November twenty-first.

Channel 5