Hindu TV station shut down in Guyana after drawing ire of president

Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo has suspended the Indian-Hindu television station, channel CNS-TV6, during the four-month campaign window for the presidential elections, reported the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In May, Guyana's member of parliament and TV commentator Tony Viera criticized Bishop Juan Edghill, president of the Ethnic Relations Commission, for putting the interests of the government over those of Catholics, reported the Associated Press. Edghill accused the commentator of defamation and, on Sept. 30, President Jagdeo announced the closure of the station effective Oct. 3.

Guyana's Advisory Committee on Broadcasting recommended the suspension. Trust Media cited President Jagdeo saying, "The content was intended to incite religious intolerance, was to disparage religious values in this country.”

Television host and owner of the station, Chandra Narine Sharma, and his wife Savitrie Singh Sharma appealed the injunction. Both sides came to an agreement to reduce the original suspension from eight months down to four when it became clear that there was no chance to annul the charge, reported Freemedia. The suspension will cause CNS-TV6 to layoff 30 employees.

This is the second time the Guyanese government suspended the Hindu station's broadcasting rights, reported the Associated Press. The station was previously suspended for four months after broadcasting images of the president dancing at a party while the majority of the capital Georgetown and the coast were inundated with floods in 2005.

The 20-year-old station has been the victim of several attacks from the government, according to the newspaper Kaieteur News.