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Reflections on the Past, Questions of the Future--Public Service Broadcasting: A Case Study of The Bahamas Broadcasting System,
Unformatted Document Text:  25 had become evident in the declining number of visitors to the country. Unemployment was increasing and social problems such as AIDS, drug addiction, and crime had risen to the forefront of the social and political agendas. Because of the relationship that broadcasting shares with society, these issues also affected the government-owned radio and television network. During the 1980s more programs were produced by ZNS radio and television staff that examined these social and economic problems. Among them was Debbie Bartlett’s 1986 television documentary "Base Street," which examined the drug problem in the country. Politically, the country and broadcasting were also facing changes. The economic and social conditions of the 1980s played a significant role in the change in government in the early 1990s. In the 1992 general elections the PLP government was replaced by the Free National Movement (FNM) government. This was the first change in government in twenty-five years. With the change in government came changes in the laws that govern broadcasting. In 1992, the FNM government amended the Broadcasting Act with the inception of privatization. 55 The Act was further amended in 1993 and 1994 to form the Television Regulatory Authority and to introduce cable television in Nassau. Prior to the August 1992 elections, the PLP government had amended the Broadcasting Act for tighter control of the electronic media’s coverage of political events during an election year. According to critics, the most drastic measure of the amendment controls political broadcasting from the announcement of a general election to the day of election. Despite the FNM's criticism of the PLP government's abuse of broadcast media during its reign, they did not remove this constraint during their tenure. This amendment impacted the elections in 1997. The FNM won that election. Local media analysts felt that the law was too restrictive and some claimed it was an unfair use of political power. It is not surprising that governments use state- owned media to maintain power. As Rhodes and Henry noted local governments throughout the

Authors: Storr, Juliette.
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had become evident in the declining number of visitors to the country. Unemployment was
increasing and social problems such as AIDS, drug addiction, and crime had risen to the forefront
of the social and political agendas. Because of the relationship that broadcasting shares with
society, these issues also affected the government-owned radio and television network. During
the 1980s more programs were produced by ZNS radio and television staff that examined these
social and economic problems. Among them was Debbie Bartlett’s 1986 television documentary
"Base Street," which examined the drug problem in the country.
Politically, the country and broadcasting were also facing changes. The economic and
social conditions of the 1980s played a significant role in the change in government in the early
1990s. In the 1992 general elections the PLP government was replaced by the Free National
Movement (FNM) government. This was the first change in government in twenty-five years.
With the change in government came changes in the laws that govern broadcasting. In 1992, the
FNM government amended the Broadcasting Act with the inception of privatization.
55
The Act
was further amended in 1993 and 1994 to form the Television Regulatory Authority and to
introduce cable television in Nassau.
Prior to the August 1992 elections, the PLP government had amended the Broadcasting
Act for tighter control of the electronic media’s coverage of political events during an election
year. According to critics, the most drastic measure of the amendment controls political
broadcasting from the announcement of a general election to the day of election. Despite the
FNM's criticism of the PLP government's abuse of broadcast media during its reign, they did not
remove this constraint during their tenure. This amendment impacted the elections in 1997. The
FNM won that election. Local media analysts felt that the law was too restrictive and some
claimed it was an unfair use of political power. It is not surprising that governments use state-
owned media to maintain power. As Rhodes and Henry noted local governments throughout the


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