GEORGE TOWN: The Government will continue to assist Bernama TV, provided the 'joint venture' company allows national news agency Bernama to take over its shares fully.
If Bernama TV, a joint venture between the Government and the private sector, has a problem in continuing operations, it could be fully taken over by the government and operated by the relevant ministry, the Finance Ministry had suggested earlier.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (pic) said such a takeover, however, had to be in accordance with the law to avoid any disputes.
"The Government cannot be seen as using taxpayers' funds to pay a private company which had failed. In this case, Bernama TV is not owned by the Government and is a private entity.
"Until and unless the issue of ownership is resolved, the Government cannot provide assistance to resolve the financial crisis," he told reporters after opening the 'Women's Empowerment Across New Media' programme, at Cahaya Siswa Complex, Universiti Sains Malaysia on Monday.
Ahmad Shabery when asked whether the 'company' was willing to accept the takeover of shares, said the matter was still being discussed.
Bernama TV, which was set up in 2008 as a 24-hour news channel, is broadcast over Astro's channel 502.
Bernama general manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh had earlier explained that Bernama TV had not paid employees' January salaries.
He said Bernama only had a minority stake of 33% in the company.
On Feb 12, Ahmad Shabery met about 100 Bernama TV employees to discuss problems faced by the TV station. - Bernama
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