Persistent in its claims that media censorship was virtually nonexistent during its tenure in office, the
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday strongly criticised the current Administration for engaging in such practices, particularly in suppressing the voice of the parliamentary Opposition.
“Press censorship is being driven from the Office of the Prime Minister in particular and the Ministry of the Presidency in general, the vehement denials notwithstanding. Examples abound across the board,” a statement from the Party noted.
PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee, who hosted the Party’s weekly news conference, also took a swing at private media, insisting that they too are guilty of encouraging political censorship.
Rohee explained that the PPP would host weekly press conferences at which more than one press statements were often read and thereafter subjected to questioning by journalists, and the statements were promptly sent electronically to all media houses. He noted too that off-the statement questions were encouraged. However, a majority of the media houses in the country refuse to publish or broadcast the views of the parliamentary Opposition on current issues.
“These statements and/or releases are usually either edited or never published by the Guyana Chronicle, the Kaieteur News nor the Stabroek News. This is a truth which none of the editors of these newspapers can deny and a fact which they don’t seem to have the courage to explain, save for political censorship,” he asserted.
Rohee added, “What censorship basically does is to deny Guyanese readers another view apart from the official view which appears to take pre-eminence over the non-official views, including those of the PPP.”
Brushing off contentions that his concerns are hypocritical, Rohee maintained that when the PPP was in office, “press censorship was virtually nonexistent, save for a few occurrences which cannot be described as press censorship”.
Rohee explained that the State media under the PPP provided coverage to the then Opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC); however, the parties were not satisfied.
Rohee said presently the PPP Opposition was not getting any coverage.
“We did carry it; they were not getting enough, they wanted more, but we are not getting anything,” he posited.
Two weeks ago, the United States Department of State scolded Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo for his attempts to censor the State media.
Only recently, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) expressed concerns that the Prime Minister and his Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, continued to dictate the news being disseminated by the State media entities – the Guyana Chronicle, the National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA).