Monday, October 8, 2012

Lawmaker lambast state broadcaster, GRTS

The National Assembly Member of Lower Fulladu West disctrict, Hon. Omar Tobb is of the view that the State-owned Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) is failing Gambians in the execution of its mandate.

“GRTS has failed Gambians in the past two years especially in my area Lower Fulladu West,” he said in an adjournment debate on September 26, 2012 which culminated the 3rd Legislative Session of the National Assembly.

The transmitter in Bansang has not been functioning for two years. The people in my area cannot have access to both the national radio and television which is a main concern to the residents in this area, explains Tobb, who was elected to parliament as an independent candidate.

According to him, the Radio Gambia, the State’s radio is only accessible within Kombo’s (urban area). He argued the citizens residing in his district need to be informed about the daily activities of government.
As at now, they are blind. They only depend on rumours and hearsay, stress Tobb, one of four independent representatives in Gambia’s 48-elected-seat parliament.  

He added: “We use to tune GRTS Radio through medium wave (MW) two years back, but now we cannot even have access to the radio through the MW and since then, nothing has be done about it.”

This, according to him, is a grave concern. Something needs to done about it, he demanded.

“I am urging the authorities to make sure that GRTS’s signal reaches out to the whole country,” he said. “We don’t have signal from both the national radio and television. The authorities should look into this and come to our aid.” 

In 2010, the national broadcaster began broadcasting on satellite, the first time after more than a decade since its establishment. 

As Hon. Tobb explains, people in Lower Fulladu thought they could get audio signals of the TV on their radio sets through the satellite, but unfortunately this has not been the case as happening in other countries.
Hon. Tobb said sadly people in various areas in the country cannot have the audio of the radio through the television and not all people can afford satellite disk in their compounds.

“I think the citizens’ main source of information has failed Gambians in the midst of our eyes. Nobody talks about it,” he argues.

“This should be addressed immediately rather than talking about other media houses,” said Hon. Tobb, who was conspicuously referring to earlier “press friendly and unfriendly” comments from national assembly members on the arbitrary closure of Taranga FM.  

Hon. Babucarr S. Fadera, Member for Kiang Central district supported Hon. Tobb’s position. He urges the Ministry of Information to ensure GRTS’s signals reaches out to the people in all corners of the country.
When he took his turn, the Member for Jimara district, Hon. Habiboulie K. Jaw, revealed the staffs at Radio Gambia’s substation in the Upper River Region town of Basse are unable to do their job effectively, due to mobility and electricity constraints.

There are lots of issues that need to be covered in that area, he said, while appealing to the Ministry of Information to provide Basse Radio Station with vehicles to enable the staff do their job effectively.  

Source: The Voice Newspaper

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