[www.inewsguyana.com] – British High Commissioner to Guyana, James Gregory Quinn says the media has a vital role to play when it comes to providing fair and balance coverage to political parties especially at this sensitive time in Guyana’s history with just a few days remaining before Guyanese head to the polls.
The High Commissioner was at the time speaking at the Guyana Press Association’s (GPA) Gala Dinner in observance of World Press Freedom Day at the Pegasus Hotel on Sunday, May 03, where he noted it is the critical role of the media to “inform your countrymen and women as they decide how to cast their vote on May 11. It will also be important to do this in the days after the election.”
He called for politicians to be granted equal access but cautioned against inciting violence.
“And the words ‘fair and balanced’ are key. You as journalists have a difficult role to play – you should ensure all are given equal access whilst at the same time trying to avoid becoming complicit in publishing anything which could incite violence. Stories should also be based on hard facts and verifiable information,” the High Commissioner said.
He also believes that it is the duty of the media to guard against the potential impact of inflammatory, provocative or disrespectful language that are used by politicians while on the campaign trail in its reportage.
Additionally, the High Commissioner highlighted the role of the media when it comes to the issues of transparency and accountability.
“Whether it is scrutiny of the performance of the government, unearthing corruption or reporting crimes, the media has to be able to cover these important issues in an open and balanced way,” Mr. Quinn added.
As such, he noted that it is important for the media to be able to operate in an environment free of fear.
“One in which they can investigate important national issues and express informed opinion without fear of prosecution.”
This year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day is: ‘Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality, and safety in the digital age.’