By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Journalist and Minister of Information Moses Nagamootoo says he is alarmed by the pronouncements of the ‘intrusive’ Attorney General, Anil Nandlall that the media in Guyana should be regulated.
Nagamootoo, now an Alliance For Change (AFC) Parliamentarian said his Party is opposed to the State or politicians legally regulating or controlling the press.
“Though we admit that standards ought to be raised, this should to be done by self-regulation,” he added.
Nandlall recently spoke of the need for rules to be promulgated to hold the media accountable during observances for World Press Freedom day.
His comments also saw President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), Gordon Moseley speaking out on the issue. Moseley had reminded the AG that the GPA has always pressed for self-regulation in the media.
In this regard, Nagamootoo said that the expectation is that by self-regulation also, journalists and their professional associations, should adopt high standards of ethics, and have greater regard for truth, verifiable facts, balance and fairness in their work.
“Several of our journalists, mostly in the free and independent media, have already distinguished themselves for adopting these higher standards,” he noted.
Nagamootoo made it clear that the AFC is not opposed to the independent monitoring of the press but posited that while the State is terrified of the few non-government media, it encourages the vulgarity of its own media for being wholly partisan, propagandistic and pathetic, and for disregarding wholly standards of objectivity, balance and fairness.
He said the AFC believes that local media ought to continue the search by self-regulation of credible standards of journalistic ethics and responsibility, adding that the government has a legal duty to protect press freedom and not to undermine it.
“I have seen in the past how the free press was strangled by regulations that equated the importation of sardines with that of newsprint, and how the direct impact of trade policies resulted in non-government press being crippled. We don’t want to return there!”
The Former Minister of Information said the AG ought to know that there already exist laws that deal with secrecy and defamation, that limit how much the press should know or publish.