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FBC Boss To Prasad: You’ll Hurt Ordinary Fijians

FBC Boss To Prasad: You’ll Hurt Ordinary Fijians
NFP leader Biman Prasad and Fiji Broadcasting chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
August 07
12:17 2018

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation chief ex­ecutive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says comments made by National Federation Party leader about cutting the Government fee to the FBC is silly and ir­responsible.

NFP leader Biman Prasad highlighted the fee cut plan during the political party’s an­nual general meeting.

“What he did not tell people is that Public Service Broadcasting fee is used for FBC to upkeep its AM frequency,” Mr Sayed-Khai­yum.

“That frequency is what people in mari­time areas and outer islands rely on when listening to the radio.

“With the fee to that service being stopped, it will leave hundreds of Fijians vulnerable during times of natural disaster.

“For example, Mr Prasad said FBC gets $11 million from our taxes every year. Another government mouthpiece.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Public Service Broadcasting fee is not a grant. It was a fee and it was treated as revenue.

“It is for the service that we provide. If we did not provide the service, we would not be getting that fee.

“I think the comment by the NFP leader is silly.

“It is irresponsible and ironic, at the same time, because Mr Prasad is talking about cutting the Government spending. The only money that the government gives to the FBC is for the PSB fee.”

In June during the Standing Committee for Economic Affairs, FBC presented that the annual Government fee to FBC was around $11million.

This is for the work it does in terms of pub­lic broadcasting, which is worth more than $30million.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the FBC appeared before the public accounts committee, par­liamentary standing committee and eco­nomic affairs recently and explained to members of the committee various process­es of public service programmes that FBC produce for all Fijians.

And the fee they received from the Govern­ment was for the partial value of the pro­grammes produced in the AM radio service.

“Mr Prasad still does not know about PSB and remains ignorant about how PSB works,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“If any new government decides to stop paying the FBC for PSB work, then there will be no more AM radio, no disaster warn­ings in villages, rural areas, maritime zones and outer lying islands, no educational and informational programmes on radio and television, no FBC 2 commercial free to air channel.

“And the way Mr Prasad is going on, he will end up only hurting ordinary Fijians and ironically these are the same people that Mr Prasad says he cares for.

“The services that FBC provides are valued much more than the money they received as fee from the Government for that service.

“It’s only partially that we are paid for the service that we provide.

“Taking away the fee from FBC will hurt the people; it will hurt the ordinary Fijians, especially in rural areas.

“All religious, educational and information programmes whether it be on television or radio, anything that is classed under PSB services will all come to an end.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Prasad should have asked us or try to get more information whether from Mr (Prem) Singh or from FBC about the nature of PSB contracts and how it works.

Mr Singh was a member of the committee, before which Mr Sayed-Khaiyum presented FBC accounts and answered questions on where the Government fee was used.

He questioned whether Mr Singh had gone back and updated his leader on the work FBC does. Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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