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Guyana Press Association, Association of Caribbean Media Workers worried about spyware

Last Updated on Tuesday, 3 May 2022, 7:19 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Press Association (GPA) and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) said on Tuesday- World Press Freedom Day- they were worried about whether governments were using spyware to go after journalists and their sources.

“On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2022 we urge the Guyana government to assure journalists and media houses that it does not and will not utilise Spyware such as Pegasus. Private individuals and organisations are also not immune from this call,” the GPA said.

World Press Freedom Day 2022 is being observed under the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege” at a time when there are concerns in the sister-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-state that the state security apparatus was using the spyware, Pegasus, to peep and eavesdrop on the communication of media workers and political opponents.  In Guyana, opposition parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul had expressed similar concerns while heckling in the National Assembly.

The ACM similarly appealed to Caribbean governments not to violate the privacy and confidentiality of journalists. “In a number of Caribbean countries, state entities have been accused of acquiring spyware that can access digital communication and undermine privacy and other  rights.

The ACM urges Caribbean governments and their domestic allied institutions to take all necessary steps to ensure that journalists are not targeted with the intention of revealing the identity of confidential sources,” the ACM said.

The GPA and ACM both urged media houses and journalists to take precautions to minimise the possibility of their devices and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure being injected with spyware and ransomware. “These pose the severe risk of threatening the financial and technological existence of media houses. Ultimately, this affects the public at large which the media serves and thus can affect the freedom of expression which is a fundamental human right,” the GPA said.