[www.inewsguyana.com] – The National Communications Network (NCN) is alleging that several of its media operatives [reporters and cameramen] are being constantly harassed by “known operatives and activists” of A Partnership of National Unity (APNU), during its ongoing Public Meetings, particularly in Region Four.
NCN in a statement noted that it wants the public to know the agenda of the APNU to intimidate its journalists and other operatives.
The State media called out APNU Member, Volda Lawrence and Chief Whip, Amna Ally as those Party members that allegedly harassed the media operatives.
“Further, we wish to advise Ms. Volda Lawrence that NCN is not align to, or is an organ of any political party. It is important to note that on one hand, this political party continue to accuse NCN of not providing coverage to them and on the other hand sought to evict NCN News team from its public events.”
According to the statement, “NCN believes these recent acts of intimidation and attacks on our journalists, is a direct threat press freedom in Guyana.”
See below a few of the recent cases of intimidation, as listed by NCN.
- On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, during an APNU Public Meeting at Kool Circle, Laing Avenue, Georgetown, Executive Member , Ms. Volda Lawrence, while addressing a public meeting, claimed that NCN’s reporter and cameraman were following her and Mr. Winston Felix “all night” so that they can record them and “take it to Rohee so he can talk about it on TV”.
- Also on the same day at La Retraite Primary School , West Bank Demerara, where Opposition Leader David Granger was the main speaker, another NCN team arrived to provide coverage of the said meeting but was accosted by three women who enquired which media house they represent. Upon learning the team was from NCN, they were rudely told that they cannot enter because they were representing NCN.
- On Thursday, October 02, 2014 at the Bagotville Community Centre, the NCN team was identified and called out by APNU supporters. Subsequently, Chief Whip of the Opposition and Executive Member of the APNU, Amna Ally prevented the team from entering the venue and threatened that if they do, she will embarrass and expose them. Prior to this incident, the NCN Cameraman was identified by supporters of the APNU, who called out to Mr. Basil Williams informing him that he was being filmed. The NCN reporter was forced to beg APNU officials that her colleague is not harmed.
- On Friday, October 3, 2014, at Middle Dam, Pouderoyen, as the NCN team arrived to cover another APNU Public Meeting, the party’s supporters yelled “watch them coming…NCN”. The team was subsequently told it cannot cover meeting.
“NCN condemns this kind of harassment and threat from members of the APNU, including its executives, which will only put at risk, the lives of honest and hardworking employees of the entity.
Further, we wish to advise Ms. Volda Lawrence that NCN is not aligned to any political party nor is it an organ of any political party.
It is important to note that on one hand, the APNU continues to accuse NCN of not providing coverage to them and on the other hand, sought to evict the NCN team from its public events.
NCN believes these recent acts of intimidation and attacks on our journalists are a direct threat to press freedom in Guyana and a violation of Article 23(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment…”
Additionally, NCN wishes to call on the Minister of Information, His Excellency, President Donald Ramotar, the National Assembly of Guyana, the Guyana Press Association, the Independent Media Workers Association of Guyana, the Diplomatic Community, Political Parties, the Guyana Human Rights Association and all other stakeholders to condemn this dastardly act by the APNU, which seems to be on a campaign to drive fear in our staff.”