At the heart of the issue is the freedom of the press. On Thursday, the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), also sent its support to end the ban on Channel Five. COLA’s President, Moses Sulph explained why.
Moses Sulph, President of COLA
“Basically the press release is clearly condemning government decision to suspend normal relations with regards to Channel Five. We believe that it is not democratic to do such moves. I mean, freedom of the press should be granted and respected. And the other way around also, the press should respect what they are reporting. But at the same time, we want to be clear at COLA, that all we are doing is trying to be balanced and objective in what we are saying in that we cannot accept or allow such moves. I think there is better amicable solution to the problem that just suspending normal relation. Because we also are very cognizant that Channel Five and other media houses have to cover news that is much worthy to the Belizean population. If you look at Youth for the Future, Women Department; those are information that is necessary to the general population. And on a whole, we look to the media houses to get us certain information. So we think that there should be some other avenues the government should take rather than suspending relationship with Channel Five.”
“If this is continued, would it not also allow a different elected government to maybe do the same thing to another media house?”
“Exactly. As we pointed out in our press release, this is a precedence that should not be set. And that is why we are also calling on GOB to reconsider its decision because it is a precedent that is not proper to be set at this time. Because if you set this precedent, even though I believe it to not be democratic, then you know, in the future it opens ways for other governments to say ‘listen, this government did it now we can do it’ which I believe is totally against what I believe is, you know, freedom of the press.”