ZNS Hits Back at International Election Observation Group over PLP Claims of Unfair Election Coverage

The board of directors at the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas is hitting back at the International Election Observation Group and is denying allegations of unbalanced coverage of the Progressive Liberal Party.

The board of directors said in a statement that it “categorically denies and refutes the allegation” and “finds it to be disturbing and unacceptable” that the OAS Election Observation Mission did not first reach out to the Corporation before “utter[ing] such disparaging and damaging allegations.”

The big picture

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding led the group to the Bahamas to observe the General Election. He claimed that ZNS refused to take political advertisements from the PLP, even though it offered to pay off its debt, a claim made by the PLP.

Golding admitted that his group was not able to determine the accuracy of the allegations.

What ZNS said happened

ZNS said it decided several months before the General Election that it would not air any new advertisements for the FNM or the PLP until payments were made to settle outstanding debts since the 2017 campaign season.

The FNM paid off its debt, while the PLP made only one small payment towards it, reducing its debt of over $100,000.00.

When the election was called, ZNS said the PLP offered to make a payment of $75,000 over a period of time, which would have left almost the same amount owing.

ZNS said it told the PLP that it would have to pay off its debt in full since the FNM had done so as a pre-condition to new advertisements being accepted.

The PLP agreed and the Corporation accepted the offer with the balance of approximately $37,000.00 being divided by the number of slots it wished to take, and the resulting amount to be paid at the same time as payment for each advertisement – so that, on payment of the last slot, the entire debt would end up being repaid, the corporation said.

However, the PLP soon pulled out of the deal and said it would not be advertising with ZNS during the remaining 2021 campaign season.

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