guidelines on Ownership and Cross-ownership in the broadcasting sector in The
Gambia have been validated by stakeholders in the media industry.
The move to have in place such guidelines was necessitated by the fact that plurality in media sourcing for information dissemination was gravely affected, especially as regards to TV broadcasting, as well as impeding market growth and ownership diversity. Stiff competition and optimal performance are also affected under the current media landscape.
While we are yet to see the fruition of this undertaking, be we believe that the step to get it done and implemented is in the right direction.
This is because looking at the objectives of the guidelines one could see some light at the end of the tunnel for a better media landscape if the programme is well implemented.
These guidelines are developed and put in place to ensure that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), subscribers and the general public “are well informed of Ownership Interests, Cross-Ownership and the plurality of views in the Broadcasting sector in The Gambia”.
The Guidelines therefore have the following objectives, according to PURA:
To fulfill the purpose of section 227 (e) of the Information and Communications Act 2009.
To ensure media plurality in contributing towards a robust democratic society. This would allow the general public to be able to consume a wide variety of Information across TV, Radio and other media outlets.
To limit the opinions of consolidation of ownership, stifling market growth and the possibility of forcing out the small market players.
To encourage diversity of ownership in the broadcasting sector
To minimize the ability of single entities/individuals to control the licensing of multiple media outlets.
To enforce The Gambia’s broadcasting policy limitations on foreign ownership for both Signal Distributors and Content Providers.
To enable the Authority keep up up-to-date on changes in ownership with licenced entities.
The Guidelines on Ownership and Cross-ownership in the broadcasting sector would really change the face of the media landscape in The Gambia if everything goes on well.
“The safest way to ensure diversity of opinion is diverse ownership. But this ideal has been sacrificed by our government”
-- Ben Bagdikian