Professor David Hinds pulls column from Kaieteur News over pro-PPP censorship; three editors leave in recent months

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2020, 14:24 by Denis Chabrol

Professor David Hinds.

Political Science Professor and candidate for A Partnership for National  Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) candidate, David Hinds on Friday announced that he has pulled his column from the privately-owned Kaieteur News newspaper, charging censorship against his criticisms of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

“With each passing week, it became more and more difficult to write in what was clearly an environment of censorship. I could no longer be critical of the PPP or express views uncritical of the Coalition. I could not write about the electoral developments in a full-throated manner,” he told the newspaper’s publisher, Glenn Lall.

Dr. Hinds’ decision came a few short months after editors Adam Harris, Nigel Mc Kenzie and Michael Jordan parted ways with the newspaper, following in the footsteps of the likes of Rawle Welch and Abena Rockliffe.

Dr. Hinds had shifted his column in early 2018 after the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper had removed him and trade unionist Lincoln Lewis for being highly critical of the David Granger-led administration.

While Dr. Hinds thanked Mr. Lall for his “bighearted gesture” at that time, he said the conditions have changed over the last two years from being merely disagreeing to more recently having  a number of them being rejected as the March 2020 general and regional elections campaign season approached.

“It was not surprising that as the recent election season heated up and Kaieteur News’ evident partisan slant was manifested,  that my opinions would not be in sync with that new thrust. Soon, some of my columns were being rejected as not being in line with the newspaper’s “reportage.” I took that to mean that the columns were inconsistent with Kaieteur News’ partisan stance,” said Hinds, an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).

He said apart from being muzzled in his columns , Kaieteur News newspaper reporters had ceased calling him for comments, all that have now added up to push him to pull his column from that paper. “As an independent thinker, censorship is inimical to my political values. I cannot function in such circumstances. So, I have reached that point; I have to leave. I do so aware that I gave it my all and, in the process, I have not violated cardinal principles or did  anything to attract libel to the paper,” he said.

Seemingly timing his move to cease writing in the Kaieteur News newspaper with August 1- the observance of African Emancipation-, Mr. Hinds suggested that the Kaieteur News newspaper was being pressured  by a section of the Indo-Guyanese community for his writings to cease in that publication.  “I am however aware that there has been an ethnic lobby to have my column removed. Hence, I decided to no longer wait to be pushed out. I am walking away with my dignity which means a lot to me especially at this Emancipation moment. Those who have led the lobby have won,” he said.

The Political Scientist and pro-coalition supporter lamented that Guyana is being damaged by media bias and partisanship at a time when the country was going through “serious political times.”  Dr. Hinds said he would be expressing his opinions on the “open space”, a seeming reference to Social or Internet-based media because his independence of thought is not up for sale. “The times ahead are likely to be more than Guyana deserves. I hope that I am made a liar. But I will not put my voice up for sale. Nor will I be silenced. From Buxton Bottom Station to the frontline of the struggles of my time to places not made for my type, I remain unbought. What flows from my pen is shaped by what I see and feel,” he said.

Senior leaders of the Granger-led administration had become gravely uncomfortable with Dr. Hinds self- criticism of the coalition which includes the WPA.