By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger has expressed his non-support for the establishment of a body to regulate and monitor the local media fraternity. This comes on the heels of calls by the incumbent People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for the setting up of same.
The PPP had rationale its call by what it says is an apparent blackout in the ‘opposition’ media of news emanating from the party, dissemination of misinformation and ‘gutter journalism’.
Speaking to iNews on Friday (October 11) the Opposition Leader said “I feel that any attempt to monitor the media on the part of the Government is likely to be discriminatory and oppressive.”
He recommends however, that if there is to be the establishment of such a body it must be independent with powers to also sanction the government media.
He noted his dissatisfaction with the way the Government Information Agency (GINA) and the National Communication Network (NCN) reports.
“I’m on record complaining to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the behavior and quality of reports of the parliament business put out by NCN and GINA” Granger said, adding that “I call for fair, professional media practices”.
He laid the responsibility of rectifying the reporting of GINA squarely at the feet of President Donald Ramotar and expressed the belief that the entity is being used as an arm of the party and not the government.
“You can see what’s happening with these rallies … they are covering the rallies as if its official government business… they are behaving as if they are a department of freedom house,” he added.
On Monday October 7, at the PPP’s weekly press briefing General Secretary Clement Rohee chided the media, particularly the daily publications – Stabroek and Kaieteur News – for what he described as ‘gutter journalism’. “Stabroek News attends all our press conferences and receives our press releases but nothing is aired, while everything said by the opposition that is critical and uncomplimentary of the PPP is given prominence” Rohee said, adding that “the Kaieteur News feeds the nations a daily dose of misinformation.”
The Guyana Press Association (GPA) also came out in condemnation of such a proposition. When contacted by iNews, GPA’s President Gordon Moseley said that the body has always encouraged self regulation by media entities.
“If someone is not satisfied with how they are covered it does not mean the entity is doing something wrong” he said, adding that “the PPP have been accused in the past of muzzling the media and ought to know better than to head down that road.”