Prime Minister Salwai terminates General Manager and Board of national broadcaster VBTCPosted: July 5, 2016
The major headline today is the Prime Minister calling for resignations of the Board and Management of the national broadcaster and regulator, Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation. And herein lies the majority of their difficulties. The national broadcaster has suffered since its inception from schizophrenia. Its split personality exists because of on the one hand it is required to regulate and license all broadcasters, whilst being the national broadcaster and bearing the identity of the government of the day as well as having the exalted responsibility required of the voice of the nation.
On page 1 of Daily Post today Glenda Willie reports the termination decisions of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai not being reported until over the weekend when the news came out on FM 107, itself in the sights of the regulator for further action.
The action is allegedly due to the appalling state of VBTC finances and the screening of what is said to be explicit sexual material in a broadcast of a Euro Cup transmission on TBV. Public Relations Officer of the government, Hilaire Bule, relayed the termination decisions of the Government last Thursday and resignations were said to be effective Friday.
GM Fred Vurobaravu reportedly told Daily Post that VBTC had met the 100 Day Plan of the Salwai Government in ensuring Radio Vanuatu reached all islands of the Republic, but the Government “failed to answer the development needs of VBTC as an essential service which includes providing funding of the redundancy and restructuring plan as well as secure funding towards the FM network which will reduce the utility costs of the company.” This statement also essentially ties the national broadcaster into a Public/Private Enterprise in a manner which firstly came to our attention with the Rentabau airport scheme. The planning needs to be a lot better and subject to public scrutiny. The public needs to be involved in any such decision. Since the birth of VBTC it seems governments have expected national radio and television to be self-funding. Even though Radio New Hebrides and Radio Vanuatu broadcast radio to the whole country during those developmental decades, and did it with government assistance, we still have a lot to learn to become respected as the voice of the nation. And the national broadcaster’s 50th anniversary is only a month away.