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Jun 20, 2018

PM Barrow on B.T.L. Advertizing Ban on Kremandala

Dean Barrow

In 2011 after its re-nationalization, Belize Telemedia withdrew all advertising from us here at Great Belize Productions, Channel Five. It took years for the government owned company to resume advertising in our award winning newscasts and other local programming. The advertising ban came after a censorship imposed by the government. Our reporters could not get interviews from government ministers or senior officials and were prevented from even entering any public building. The censorship was eventually lifted following public outcry locally and from friendly government from other countries. Fast forward to today, we can tell you that most government ministers freely provide us with interviews, but there are at least two very senior ministers who do not directly give us interviews unless our reporters are in a pool with other media houses.  We still consider that an affront to this station and to the freedom of the press, but we persevere. We say all this in light of the current standoff between the government-owned B.T.L. and the Kremandala organization which the telephone company has cut off from advertising.  We believe it was wrong in 2011 and is wrong now.  Now, as far as we have heard, some ads were sent to the Partridge Street media house last week, but they were not aired or published since their management was consulting.  The telecom business has said it is moving to invest its marketing dollars on online and digital platforms, with a heavy focus on social media.  Many see it as a move to starve Kremandala and put a lid on the anti-government stance it has taken.  On Tuesday, when the media caught up with the P.M, he was asked about the B.T.L. move. Here’s his response:

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Somebody showed me a paper last week in which the Amandala was lambasting B.T.L. and in the middle of the paper there was a full page ad from BTL. I believe that, it is as the bosses at B.T.L. have said, they are moving towards social media as their primary form of advertisement or of advertising. And that is happening all over the world. Certainly the print media is having a warm time. Take for example the fact of the Guardian Newspaper, the party newspaper of the U.D.P., which is in government, they were complaining for weeks, not an ad from B.T.L.  So I don’t think it was aimed at the Amandala, in particular. It is just a function of the change to try to keep abreast of technology that’s so rapidly moving and trying to ensure that the company is positioned to get the best bang for its buck and the way to do that obviously is to go the route of social media advertising, digital advertising.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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