Cabinet briefings go live

The first Cabinet press briefing on live television will take place tomorrow at 10am.

The press briefings, which previously took place on Fridays, will now take place on Thursdays and will last only one hour.

The conferences will be transmitted directly to Island 24 – cable channel 9 – and then be repeated on that channel on Sunday mornings at 10am. The broadcasts will simultaneously be fed live to Radio Cayman and VIBE.

The live broadcasts will require Government Information Services to purchase additional equipment.

A cash infusion of approximately CI$48,800 will be needed acquire that equipment.

According to Chief Information Officer Pat Ebanks, the costliest piece of equipment required is a CI$16,800 microwave transmitter, which will allow the briefings to be sent in real time to the television station.

An additional CI$32,000 will be needed for other broadcasting equipment such as microphones, communications systems, and production software and hardware, she said.

The equipment will make the GIS technology compatible with the television station’s equipment, and will make sure audio and video transmissions work at an optimal level.

This foray into television for GIS is not new. It already produces a weekly programme called Spotlight, which focuses on various community issues.

However, to get that show on Island 24, the tapes must be pre-recorded and physically taken to the television station to be replayed.

Mrs. Ebanks stated in an e-mail that she hoped cutting out routine treks over to CITN would save the government money in the long run.

Moreover, an instant broadcast signal creates an entirely new medium for GIS to use.

‘The new equipment modernises GIS, enabling it to function as a modern electronic media unit that can transmit in all occasions, including in the instance of national disasters,’ Mrs. Ebanks said, adding that the live transmission signal greatly enhances government’s ability to directly communicate with its people.

Mrs. Ebanks also noted the transmitter would allow taped audio or video feeds to be sent over to various media houses within minutes of them being recorded, improving government’s efficiency in distributing information.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has indicated that direct, open communication was one of his administration’s main motivations in broadcasting the Cabinet briefings live on television and radio.

‘This is yet another step in our continuous march towards openness and transparency of government,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘We as a government want to take our message directly to the people for them to judge our performance for themselves on how their government has been representing them and performing.’

Until the information services office receives its new equipment, Mrs. Ebanks said CITN equipment would be temporarily used in transmitting signals for the live Cabinet press briefing broadcasts.

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