Friday, February 1, 2013

Letter: CNMG fulfilling role of national broadcaster: Ken Ali

I wish to respond to the editorial in Wednesday’s edition of the T&T Guardian headlined Pointless rights wrangle, and, in particular, to a specific point made toward the end of the piece. 

First, I concur with your conclusion that it is regrettable that the annual semifinal competition of the country’s national instrument did not enjoy broadcast on television. You are right that this “debacle” resulted after “months of negotiations”. 

Indeed, Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) sought to engage the stakeholders in roundtable discussions several months ago, conscious of the fact that Carnival 2013 is a fixture on February 11 and 12.

Not only was our negotiating position clear but we also made vigorous efforts—until last Friday night—to have this matter resolved. The fact that CNMG is now sharing blame for non-broadcast of the Panorama semifinals is as unfortunate as the statement in your editorial that “it is hardly fair to competing media houses for the state media enterprise to have special conditions for CNMG’s operations…”

The truth is that CNMG enjoys no such “special conditions.” The company is a commercial entity, mandated to make business decisions and to stand on its own financial legs. In that respect, I am happy to report that CNMG has just emerged from its best-ever financial performance.

It is in furtherance of CNMG’s stated financial mission that the company made affordable, yet competitive, financial proposals to the three Carnival stakeholders. You would note that no other local television station has shown an interest in broadcasting the major public steelband, calypso and mas events.

Since one of those stations is a sister organisation of the Guardian, it may not be difficult to ascertain why there has never been any interest in the broadcast of the national festival. Could it be because broadcasting of Carnival is not a financially lucrative endeavour?

For our part, CNMG delicately balanced a business proposal with an appreciation of its role and responsibility as a national broadcaster. At the risk of sounding immodest, I respectfully think CNMG should be commended for offering to broadcast Carnival—from which other TV stations shy away—while making the best business decision on behalf of its shareholders, the people of T&T.

I agree, though, with another point in your editorial: That more and better is required from the stakeholders, since “the current situation remains needlessly disorganised and vulgar and an embarrassment to T&T”. 

For now, though, Trinidadians and Tobagonians should be comforted with the news that the issue has been resolved and they can confidently expect to enjoy Carnival 2013 on CTV and Talk City 91.1 FM.

Ken Ali |
Chief Executive Officer,
Caribbean News Media Group

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai