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Nagamootoo’s pro-govt media stance breaks coalition’s promise-GPA

That Chronicle headline conversation between Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and the newspaper’s reporter Derwayne Wills.

The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has noted with concern recent reports of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo’s interaction with a Chronicle reporter following the publication of a news report in the Guyana Chronicle, over which the Prime Minister expressed disappointment.

The GPA feels compelled to comment on the issue, because while the Prime Minister is free to express his views, he should not express such views directly to media workers as this is known to be a tactic of intimidation and may have a dampening effect on press freedom that can result in self-censorship.

Further, the GPA regards the Prime Minister’s stated pro-government expectations of the publicly-funded Guyana Chronicle newspaper (and presumably all State-owned media) as a retrograde and intolerable step that betrays the governing Coalition’s campaign and post-election promises not to engage in the same press freedom violations previous administrations were accused of.

On the matter of the Prime Minister’s comment on “government owned media” there needs to be a clear distinction between the State and the Government. The GPA wishes to suggest that there should be, following extensive consultations, a policy which adumbrates the way the executive should interact with state-owned media that would allow for freedom of the press to be exercised in a meaningful way within these entities.

Integral also in the approach towards a free and open State media, the Association believes, should be the reform of the Broadcasting Act and the adoption of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s editorial guidelines that govern that United Kingdom State-owned and funded broadcaster.

The GPA takes this opportunity to call on all journalists never to be swayed by opinion, good or bad, once your story is factual, accurate and true. Questions from political leaders regarding your work should be directed to your editors.