Monday, April 21, 2008

SHARMA: blatant infringements of basic broadcast rectitude, total ignorance in the belief that freedom rights will protect him from slandering govern

By David de Groot
“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.” This age-old adage readily comes to mind whenever I encounter television owner Sharma, whilst flipping through the channels to settle on something that can stimulate my mind and attention.

On reflection, I am reminded of the advent of the Sharma channel on the television screen of our sets some years back. The recent history of this advent will disclose that it provided comic ignorance and became a light diversion from the more serious and informative programmes. In other words, no one took him and his station seriously, if only because of the abysmal ignorance being displayed by the politically aspiring Sharma.

There was blissful ignorance in pursuing a course of blatant infringements of basic broadcast rectitude, total ignorance in the belief that freedom rights will protect him from slandering government ministers, heads of public sector entities or any other public figure. Well, he will soon learn that freedom of speech does not permit anyone from bellowing “fire! Fire!” in a crowded and packed auditorium or cinema or any other similar situation.

This brings me to what I consider the uncalled hullabaloo that has been mounted by all the various elements that are opposed to the government over what must be a case of straight forward appropriate action against Sharma and his television station. There is clearly no doubt that he is guilty using his television station to advocate the killing of the president of the country. He is clearly wrong, and it is an infringement of the conditions of the licence under which he is permitted to operate a TV station. Indeed, Sharma himself pleaded guilty to the charge and attempted to apologise, but he deliberately and almost immediately committed the infringement by again airing the specific advocacy of the killing of the Head of State, not once, but thrice! What disrespect for the rule of law!

Now that there could be no doubt that Sharma is guilty of a severe infringement of the conditions of the licence granted to him by a government agency, and considering that the very Sharma and his station were previously taken off the air, the infractions of another serious complaint, it is my view that the suspension of four months is extremely light. Serious consideration should be given towards closing down the station by the withdrawal of the licence.

To permit any television station to operate and to project the degree of non-educational programmes is tantamount to a national disgrace. The misuse of the English Language and generally poor quality of the programming on Sharma’s channel is clearly having a negative impact on the education of the younger generation of the viewing public.

Maintaining a higher standard must be a core intent of any properly-run station. Unfortunately, Sharma is obviously ill-equipped to undertake the kind of responsibility that is necessary to aim for the desired standard required.

To introduce specious arguments on the question of the denial of some freedom or other are quite palpable attempts at politicising the issue. Also for Sharma to cry out about his 30-odd workers being deprived of their earnings, he should have had them in mind in the first place. So as I started, I will end by emphasizing that: “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”