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Speech

Discussions have been taking place in relation to Nationwide News Network (NNN) and the test broadcasting being carried out within the FM 90 frequency assigned to the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica.
By now interested parties should be aware that in keeping with the Broadcasting Commission’s recommendations, Nationwide News Network is to be granted a Public Service Broadcasting Radio Licence and it is expected that all matters related to that prospect will be concluded by the end of this week. It has also been established that NNN is to provide services to the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica and has been carrying out test transmissions over a period of approximately two months complete with editorial and advertising content.
It is this latter matter which has drawn public comment and regulatory advice in recent times. In addressing these concerns l point out that as Government embarks upon public/private sector partnerships and more generally, as various industries adjust to fast evolving developments in a range of areas, Government, in securing successful outcomes will be called upon to exercise good judgment where circumstances dictate immediate action and the review of existing modalities and frameworks where appropriate.
In the instant case, for perhaps the first time, a going concern, NNN, is to be granted a licence. In consideration of the entity’s commitments to its staff; the Company’s advertising and other contractual obligations and also the expectations of the listening audience, a decision was taken in all the circumstances to allow the testing exercises to be carried out, maintaining the news and current affairs features which are central to the services offered and which is supported by advertising revenue. It will be appreciated that the Government has no interest in seeing businesses closed for however short a period, knowing well the attendant displacement and loss to the individuals whom they employ, particularly in these challenging times. It is equally recognised that these considerations must be counterbalanced against the need for certainty in the regulatory environment and it is against this background that we consider ourselves constrained to regularise all arrangements with the station in the shortest possible time and I also make that commitment.
Test information gathered during the period will be reviewed by the Spectrum Management Authority, against set criteria in keeping with usual practice. I welcome the Broadcasting Commission’s recommendations for the establishment of a protocol which will scope the parameters of test transmissions as we go forward and I will invite the Commission to work collaboratively with the Spectrum Management Authority in this regard.