Residents accuse ABS of censoring FB criticism of Government Ministers during Budget Debate


Some residents who chose to follow the Budget Debate 2023 via the Facebook page of the ABS-TV are accusing the State-run agency of gross censorship.

Ironically tagged “The Nation’s Station,” these persons tell REAL News they were prevented from commenting on the ABS page, or had their posts removed, because they were critical of the Government’s or its ministers’ performance.

At the same time, they complain, other persons who clearly support the Browne Administration were allowed to comment, criticize and even slander members of the Opposition bench.

Even as these criticisms were being leveled, management of the media house was asserting that it does “not discriminate against any views – we welcome them.”

However, it continues, ABS does monitor comments and, without notice, will remove those it deems abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening, inciting hate or off the topic, and will deny access to repeat offenders.

But one outraged national says she was blocked, apparently for partisan political reasons.

“We don’t pay taxes?” she asks. “Just imagine that I’m watching it live on Facebook and only the ALP people-dem can comment and curse the Opposition.

“I am so upset.  If  you see the nasty things they said about Serpent [St. George MP Algernon Watts], and ABS didn’t remove the comments or stop them from cursing him.”

Another woman tells our Newsroom, “ABS blocked me from their Facebook page, so I didn’t hear any debate today.

“A lot of students listen to Parliament debates and I am an online college student.  How is blocking students who are doing political science going to help us in any research paper?” she asks.

The State-run media house has often been accused of political discrimination, not only on its Facebook page but in its programming.  Regular watchers say it rarely reports any news that is favourable to the Administration’s political opponents, or it excludes them entirely.

That exclusion has led the United Progressive Party (UPP), in particular, to cultivate its own audience through intense social-media engagement, as was demonstrated in the recent election campaign.

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  1. what else is new? is this surprising to any Antiguan and Barbudan?

    They think the country is theirs, I cannot wait for the day to come.

    ABLP is the worse of the worst!!!

  2. It is a serious matter that I hope my friend Melford Nicholas would seriously address. It has been happening under his watch for far too long. He is a man who have always welcomed and allowed free speech and I would hate to think that what is currently happening is done under his instructions. Censorship occurs when individuals try to prevent others from saying, printing, or depicting words and images.
    Censors seek to limit freedom of thought and expression by restricting spoken words, printed matter, symbolic messages, etc. This is how authoritarian Governments starts. When the government engages in censorship, personal freedoms are implicated. Free up the station and let people talk. Once they are not libelous or slanderous, let people talk. It should be the cornerstone or our democracy.. Antigua is not Afghanistan or Iran where people should fear criticizing their leaders. Our leaders on what ever side of the political aisle they are are must be held to very high standards and criticism does help in ensuring that they adhere to certain acceptable standards. I am one of those persons that have the greatest respect for authority and while I respect all, I will always see it as my duty and obligation to respectfully question and criticize anything, whether coming from Government, Opposition or Independents. ABS is tax payers funded Station, hence the Nation Station. It is time that sensibility be allowed in how it is run and operated.

  3. The technologies which are available today, can be used, to balance what ABS-TV is doing, if there are enough interests by private investors, similar to what Observer did with Radio Broadcasting. The same can be done today with Social Media and other Media Productions(News to Reality Shows) and get to STREAMING!
    #STREAMING is not only INDEPENDENT, it can be profitable with proper programs/content, once, the Caribbean becomes the #Target_Market.

    Stop complaining, think outside the box, and ABS-TV, will become a relic of the Entertainment/Streaming/Social Media Industry!

    It took Ted Turner to risk going 24hours with his Private Media Network, and history has proven him to be correct!

    Next, Amazon decided to offer media content as a part of its Prime Package, and look at the amount of STREAMING NETWORKS presenting all kinds of content which has left, Ted Turners business model, in the Museum, as a display to visit!

    Ras Smood aka Jumbee_Picknee
    De ‘ole Dutty Peg_Foot Bastard

    Vere Edwards

  4. It was shameful! Alp supporters were allowed to say all manner of slanderous things about the opposition members with no consequences. However, critics of the government were blocked or their comments were deleted. Are we in primary school?! What nonsense in this day and age!

  5. While I’m here let me say that the AG owes Hon Pringle a public apology! His conduct was disgraceful! To make it worse, in the end Pringle was right and Yearwood signed the book. The AG was extremely demeaning and condescending to Pringle. He should be made to apologize on Thursday and the Speaker needs to control the house.

  6. Good thing the Government cannot execute the opposition cause the way it seems it would have been in ABLP gameplay

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