Guyana Press Association’s Message on World Press Freedom Day
The Guyana Press Association commemorates another World Press Freedom Day by urging journalists and the press to be vigilant; to seek to be informed, then inform; to know the truth and then make it known.
Press Freedom can only be sustained by a dynamic, strong and vibrant press and consistent and persistent investigative work by our journalists to ensure that the tenets of our democracy remain strong.
The issue in Guyana as we mark World Press Freedom Day under the theme: “Freedom of Information: The Right to Know” is not whether we have Freedom of the Press, it is how much we can practice and exercise that freedom in a fair balanced, objective and responsible manner as possible.
The GPA will continue to expand the “Right to Know” by urging our lawmakers to move with alacrity on a Freedom of Information Bill that underpins the public’s right to Access to Information.
Our “Right to know” is also curtailed by the long delayed need for broadcast liberalization. The continued State Monopoly on Radio Stations and “Television Expansion” must be a thing of the past. We urge the Administration to take on board Justice Ian Chang’s ruling on the Broadcast Sector. A multiplicity of radio stations in particular and expanded television/cable stations in general will not only allow for more creative programming options and the concomitant expansion of the creative industry it will allow the populace to make rational and informed decisions in every “nook and cranny” of this Republic.
The GPA notes that the Guyanese Media Owners and practitioners have been doing their part in being more responsible as signaled by the recent signing of the GECOM Media Electoral Code of Conduct. Work is continuing on a general media code of conduct in conjunction with the Centre for Communication Studies at the UG.
We note too the establishment of the media owners association and we look forward to their support inter alia in ensuring that there is an equitable distribution of advertisements based on real market considerations.
We are extremely concerned about the reduction of advertisements to Kaieteur News that will only lend itself to renewed accusations that the Administration is seeking to punish a media house with whom it does not see eye to eye. Any such reduction based on bias rather than business considerations shall always be seen as a violation of the Declaration of Chapultepec. We in Guyana have been down that road once before with the Stabroek News for recent history to repeat itself so soon.
The “Right to Know” must not be stifled by the unjust and unfair ban on Capitol News Senior Journalist and now President of the Guyana Press Association Gordon Moseley. He still cannot access State House and the Office of the President. We urge the President to remove the ban.
Again, we use this occasion to greet all practising members of the print and broadcast media, including our colleagues in the state-run media. We hope that the other freedom of association can be exercised by our state media to belong to the GPA that has their professional development at heart.
We urge all in the media to continue to do your job fearlessly; the people demand it. The Guyana Press Association is currently engaged in numerous efforts towards the professional development of the media in Guyana, and we welcome the support from both local and overseas organizations who continue to support the work of the Association.