Amid mounting criticism over several anti-media statements made by President David Granger during a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) General Council meeting, the party has now withdrawn those statements made by the Guyanese Head of State.
On Wednesday, the PNCR said it retracted its previous press statement on the party’s General Council Meeting held on May 19, 2018, claiming that the quote made by President Granger regarding the media was “taken out of context”.
In the previous press statement, Granger was quoted highlighting “the daily challenges faced by the coalition from some sections of the media”. However, this did not sit well with several media entities who are known to have been critical of Government in the past. The members of the fourth estate have since expressed feelings of being threatened by the President’s remark.
In an effort to take attention off the controversial statement made by Granger, the PNCR said that the President has long been and will continue to be a strong advocate and defender of freedom of information.
“The leaders and members of the PNCR strongly believe that free access to information is an inalienable right of every citizen. It is an indispensable condition of democratic society,” the statement said. The party did not stop there, but went on to state that citizens’ access to information was a democratic right and information was necessary for citizens’ informed participation in society.
“The PNCR is committed also to non-interference in the independent media. Independent media act as watchdogs of the Government. They promote transparency by ensuring that information is provided to the public on the work of the Government,” the party also added.
Further, the PNCR said private media companies were a source of valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the efforts of the Government. Therefore, there is no good reason for the State to interfere in the work of the private media, and it has committed to ensuring that that does not ever occur.
Guyana Times threat
Meanwhile, on Tuesday Guyana Times informed the country that it received a number of threats from persons who claimed to be agents of the Government to stop publishing news items which are critical of the Administration and its work.
These persons have threatened that should the newspaper continue to pursue articles which are critical of the Government, its owners, management, and affiliate companies will face dire consequences.
As an independent media house, this newspaper pointed out that it has striven to express the views of all Guyanese irrespective of religion, race, creed, or political background.
“We are of the view that this threat is aimed at silencing us as a media house from performing our role as the fourth estate of democratic government…This media house, over the past 10 years, has stood firm as a watchdog of our democracy and against Government excesses.”
In the past, Guyana Times has been threatened by Government officials. In particular one Government official called for the torching of Sanata Complex, Georgetown which houses, among other entities, the newspaper, Television Guyana (TVG-CH 28) and Radio Guyana Inc (RGI).
The companies have all strengthened their resolve and stood their ground since the President’s comments and the threats which pre-dated and increased after his statement.