[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Government in a statement on Sunday has reminded that from its assumption of office in October, 1992, it has always recognised, embraced, cherished and actively promoted press freedom in all its forms and facets and continues to regard this freedom as a fundamental right which is
enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana.
“We view freedom of the press as the cornerstone of our democracy,” the government said in its statement; adding that prior to its assumption to office, freedom of the press and free expression as a whole was denied to the citizenry.
“We have worked tirelessly over the years to create an atmosphere which is conducive to an environment where freedom of thought, expression and freedom of the press can flourish,” the statement added.
Government’s statement follows recent criticism after a conversation between its Attorney General and a Senior Journalist went public, which many have agreed contains violent threat against the local daily – Kaieteur News.
The Government has responded saying it does not muzzle or interfere with any of the local press outfits. “Journalists attached to these media entities have equal and ready access to all members of government and indeed, to every public officer.”
According to the administration, it has never been accused of intimidating or has in any manner intimidated journalists or compromised their ability and capacity to report freely and fairly.
But the administration feels that, Regrettably, the Kaieteur News has been engaged in an unwavering and institutionalised policy of journalism, lacking in professional and ethical tenets, but steeped in fabrications, distortions, character assassination and homophobia.
“The prime targets have been the Government, Government Ministers, senior functionaries of the State, sections of the business community, religious organisations, sections of the labour movement and sections of the civil society supportive of the government and indeed anyone with whom the newspaper publisher has a personal grievance,” the statement noted; adding that “Headlines are frequently enlarged and inaccurately sensationalised to scandalise issues and persons and are often times, not borne out by the stories to which they relate, even as distorted and inaccurate as those stories themselves are.”
The government said that attempts by those aggrieved by offensive publications to solicit apologies, retractions or clarifications are met with further abuse and sometimes with greater intensity in subsequent publications.
“The Government of Guyana cannot and will not sanction a Press being unleashed in this manner on the populace. All are equal before and must operate within the confines of the law and the norms of civil society.”
The administration reiterated its commitment to freedom of the press and says it will continue to ensure that the safest environment is created for all journalists and all media practitioners to operate without fear or any form of intimidation or danger.