Home Top Stories Freedom of expression respected by Guyana’s Govt – US State Dept
There are a host of constitutional rights that Guyanese enjoy, including freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and association. And according to the United States (US) State Department report on human rights, these rights were generally respected by the Government.
According to the US State Department’s latest report, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government generally respected the right to freedom of expression, including for members of the press and other forms of media.
“An independent media, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for members of the media. Independent news media were active, and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction,” the report stated.
Last year, on the occasion of Press Freedom Day, the Guyana Press Association had called on media houses and journalists to take all the “necessary steps to guard” and insulate themselves against such threats as spyware. To quote the press association’s message: “…media houses should of necessity take the requisite action to minimise the surveillance and monitoring of their work in violation of the freedom to receive and impart ideas.”
Reservations were meanwhile expressed in the report about the role of state media, however, which the report noted created an imbalance in public discourse…especially since the Opposition did not have a definitive media outlet of their own.
It was noted, however, that the libel and slander laws were not used to restrict freedom of expression. Outside of the libel and slander laws, the US State Department said, Government is not known to have unlawfully monitored private online communication.
“Defamatory libel is a crime punishable by imprisonment of three years or less. The law was not enforced.
The Government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet, or censor online content.
“There were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority. The law provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the Government generally respected these rights,” the US State Department further said.
Guyana was one of 14 States that were reviewed by a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) done on Guyana’s human rights situation by a UPR Working Group in 2020. Three countries: Australia, Chile and Pakistan, served as rapporteurs for Guyana. Previously, Guyana came under UPR reviews in 2010 and 2015.
The review was based on three sets of documents that must be presented; a national report, which contains information provided by the State under review; reports from independent human rights experts and groups, most notably the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and lastly, information provided by stakeholders, including national human rights institutions, regional organizations, and civil society groups in the country under review. (G3)