As the national broadcaster celebrates its 70th Anniversary its board uses the opportunity to express its honest views on government’s decision to omit them as an SOE—revealing that neither the board nor the management were consulted on the matter by the government.
The government on June 27 this year omitted SIBC as a State Owned Enterprise under the SOE Act and the national broadcaster now operates under the Broadcasting Act— under the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Albert Kabui explained then that SIBC remained the national broadcaster as provided for under the Broadcasting Act.
In this case, Kabui explained that SIBC has not been viable and has always been seeking government for financial assistance.
The decision had caused public debate especially on the independence of SIBC especially on news but SIBC board and management were tight-lipped on the issue.
But speaking yesterday during the celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary of the national broadcaster, Chairman of the board, Dr William Parairato plainly stated the organisation’s position and lack of transparency from the government in removing SIBC from the SOE Act.
“Unfortunately, the then SIBC Board nor the SIBC management were consulted at any meeting between the Office of the Prime Minister and the Corporation. All that the SIBC received from the OPMC were complaints about how our newsroom was running its news and current affairs programmes and allegations of causing disunity amongst the communities of this nation.
“There were no discussions about any intensions of the government to omit SIBC from under the schedule of the SOE Act until the official gazette dated 27th June 2022 found its way into the social media,” said Dr Parairato.
He added: “As we celebrate this historic this historic occasion SIBC is yet to receive any official communication from the Office of the Cabinet or Office of the Prime Minister about the intention of the omission of SIBC from under the schedule of the SOE Act. All SIBC management has been able to gather from statements in Parliament and government media conferences is that government will now fund the SIBC, but the editorial independence remains with the management.”
Dr. Parairato said SIBC management is still waiting on PMO to call a meeting to discuss these maters.
He added the management had made several attempts through emails and official correspondence, but no response has been forthcoming.
“SIBC understands that PMO has some very important priorities but we believe the matter of of the corporation should also be a priority as the decision was made by the cabinet.
On finances, Dr Parairato outlined detailed of the corporation’s operations and in the past ten years which the cooperation raised more than 60 to 70 percent of its income totally opposite to the claims by the OPMC.
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