Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We urge Gibraltar's Broadcasting Corporation to re-think its policy

Equality Rights Group GGR has today appealed to the Management of GBC (Gibraltar's monopoly tv and radio provider) to re-think and reverse their decision regarding the Progressive Democratic Party's (PDP) Leader’s exclusion from "Leader debate" programmes during the Elections. The rationale is that the PDP is putting up less candidates for election than, it says, the number required to form Government. On this basis, "Leaders" debates can only include the heads of Parties in that electoral position.

“A strict approach to this question, whilst arguably within technical reason due merely to the title given to the programme, is nonetheless disproportionate. As a small community, Gibraltar needs as much political diversity as can be mustered. To prevent face-to-face live debate between the main contenders to Government and not only the PDP but independent candidates would be to practise political protectionism of one set of politicians from exposure to the competing ideas of others who present themselves before this community.”

“Equality Rights Group GGR has advocated freedom from political interference with GBC, in particular following Government announcements not so long ago of a review of its structure and practices and we cautioned vigilance on the part of the public to ensure this was not a ploy by Government to control our broadcast services. However, GBC must practise the same level of equanimity towards the pluralistic culture that we as Gibraltarians strive for. It will be no big deal to rename the programme “the Contenders debate” and allow the main parties, alongside the minor parties and the independents too, the opportunity to be seen by the Electorate in free and open debate and thus overcome the strict technicalities and obstacles whilst serving this community as GBC is indeed entrusted to do. Despite its issued announcement of ‘no change’, and particularly in view of the GSLP/Liberals statement of no objection to Mr Azopardi’s inclusion, we urge the Corporation to do whatever it takes to rectify this situation in the interests of serving the community of Gibraltar at large at these Elections. The public has a right to see how the politicians measure up against each other in lively and open discussion and GBC will no doubt find much respect and appreciation from the public it serves if it reconsiders this matter. Keith Azopardi, along with Charles Gomez and Richard Martinez (two Independents) ought to have the opportunity to lock horns with Caruana and Bossano (leaders of the two main Parties) and let the public decide!”