BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 7, 2018– The news that Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), a telecommunications company that the government nationalized and “enshrined in the Constitution of Belize,” had implemented an unannounced advertising boycott of the three KREMANDALA companies — KREM Radio, KREM Television and Amandala newspaper — began resonating on social media last week.
The BTL boycott, which was not officially announced to KREMANDALA, was exposed on the Belize Breaking News (BBN) website last Wednesday. A few days later, it was addressed by Evan “Mose” Hyde on KREM Radio’s Wake Up Belize (WUB) morning show on Monday, June 4, and it was headlined by the Amandala in its midweek edition.
In an obviously clumsy attempt at damage control, BTL on Wednesday posted on its Facebook page a release under the caption, “BTL’s Response to Alleged Advertising Ban on Amandala.”
In the post, which was really a disjointed set of statements — full of non-sequiturs that at no point directly denied the boycott against KREMANDALA, BTL mentioned a PUP press release, mused about “congratulating all winners of the recent municipal elections” and labeled itself “a major supporter of education,” among other claims.
What in the world does BTL congratulating all municipal elections winners, and BTL being a major supporter of education have to do with BTL’s advertising ban on KREMANDALA?
About midway in the post/defense, BTL says, “With more and more of our customers getting their news online, newspapers are facing challenges to adapt and harness the opportunities presented by digital disruption.”
Yeah? Why, then did a full-page BTL advertisement appear on the back page of the UDP’s Guardian today, Thursday, June 7? The other major newspaper is not a severe critic of the Barrow administration, and that newspaper has many times been a recipient of the UDP’s generosity.
The post continues that, “In today’s business climate, we need a higher level of creativeness and efficiency to reach our customers.”
And since BTL is searching for “a higher level of creativeness and efficiency,” its ads also appear on the UDP’s radio station, Wave Radio, and Wave Television.
Obviously, BTL was talking pure nonsense in its release. Nothing it said offered any real excuse for its criminal action in using a business owned by the people to punish the UDP administration’s political critics.
BTL must remember who are its owners – the Belizean people, and not Prime Minister Dean Barrow, nor anyone in his manifestly corrupt administration.