3 February 2005


Television station suspended for indefinite period

Incident details

television station(s)


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(RSF/IFEX) - In a 31 January 2005 decision, the High Court ordered the suspension of CNS Channel Six television station, as an interim measure, until the court issues a ruling on the constitutionality of the government's decision to suspend the station's licence for one month.

"Suspending a news media is an unacceptable act of censorship when it is done to stifle criticism of the government," RSF said, in reference to CNS's suspension, announced by the government on 22 January and provisionally upheld by the High Court on 31 January.

"We call on the Guyanese authorities to lift this measure and restore the equipment confiscated from CNS as soon as possible. We do not exempt news media of all responsibility, however. If CNS aired false information, which does not seem to have been the case, the authorities can turn to the courts," RSF added.

On 22 January, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds announced the government's decision to suspend CNS's licence for one month, after the station heavily criticised relief measures taken by the government in response to major flooding. Hinds accused CNS's "Voice of the People" programme of "stirring up public disorder and hostility to the government's relief efforts." The same day, the authorities confiscated the station's transmitting equipment and closed its studios.

CNS briefly resumed broadcasting on 28 January, in defiance of the suspension. The head of the station told Agence France-Presse (AFP) this was done because he had never received the prime minister's closure order. The next day, the police seized equipment that the station had rented in order to resume its broadcasts. CNS lawyer Nigel Hughes told AFP that CNS would appeal the High Court decision.


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