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Thursday, May 18, 2006 


Caribbean needs a 24-hour indigenous broadcast network
Web Posted - Thu May 18 2006
By David Hinkson

As the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) celebrates its 30th anniversary, a veteran regional broadcaster and diplomat is calling for the agency to develop a 24-hour television and radio news channel.

Speaking at a lecture entitled "The Evolution of CANA and the role of the regional media in the Caribbean Single Market", Sir Ronald Sanders stated that presently the Cable News Network (CNN) and Fox News out of the United States and the UK's BBC World were readily available here, and because there was no equivalent Caribbean channel, Caribbean audiences know more about events in England or the United States than they do about events in Georgetown, Kingston or Bridgetown.

With that in mind, he called on the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), CANA's parent company, to consider floating CMC as a public company on the CARICOM stock exchanges. This will give Caribbean companies and Caribbean people the chance to invest in it while providing it with the finances to launch a Caribbean-wide radio and television network.

In his view, making it a public company would broaden its ownership base to include not just privately run and Government-owned media houses, but also trade unions, Non-Governmental Organisations, commercial entities and ordinary individuals throughout the Caribbean.

Sir Ronald, who served on CANA's first Board of Directors in 1976, said if Caribbean companies invested in the station, it would not only help to promote regional integration, but would also help the businesses to tap into new markets. Investors would also benefit from increased advertising revenue once the TV station was sold to cable television operators in the region and further afield.

Sir Ronald underscored the importance of the CMC going this route by stating that "if a regional organisation does not do this, the present trade and investment rules being developed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will enable a foreign company to come into the region and do it."

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