The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has argued for laws to be enacted preventing political interference at the state-owned broadcaster ZNS.
URCA also called for laws ensuring “absolute editorial independence covering all of its programs and services.”
The recommendations are contained in a newly released consultation document on public service broadcasting (PSB) in The Bahamas prepared by URCA.
The Broadcasting Act, and other relevant legislation related to ZNS, give the government direct control over the station. The government appoints the ZNS board. The minister responsible for broadcasting can exercise direct control over content at the broadcaster.
“The minister has scope to influence creative and editorial decisions, leading to risks both of politically-biased programing and of censorship,” said URCA.
Both the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have been accused of using ZNS to disseminate political propaganda while in office.