[www.inewsguyana.com] – The International Press Institute (IPI) has expressed deep concern over the recorded phone call in which Guyana’s Attorney General Anil Nandlalla ppeared to suggest that staff members of the daily Kaieteur News risked deadly reprisal if the paper continued its critical reporting.
IPI Press Freedom Manager, Barbara Trionfi today expressed solidarity with the Guyanese media community.
“The safety of journalists is an extremely serious matter and we are deeply troubled by the alleged contents of this recording,” she said; adding that “Insofar as these comments risk giving the impression that violence is an appropriate response to unfavourable media coverage, such statements have an impact far beyond the individual newspaper in question: they place all of Guyana’s journalists in danger.”
Trionfi believes “The Government of Guyana should focus now on making it clear that violence against the press will not be tolerated, and on reassuring the international community that it takes its responsibility to protect Kaieteur News staff and all other media practitioners in the country seriously.”
On Monday last Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall made public the recording and a written transcript of what he said was a phone call made by Nandlall to one of the paper’s senior reporters. Nandlall has not denied that the call took place.
During the 19-minute conversation, Nandlall can be heard stating that “everybody don’t have a newspaper to use as a weapon … if Kaieteur News continue to attack people like this and they [people] have no way of responding, they will just walk with their weapon into that same F**king Saffon Street office and wah [sic] come shall do.”
The speaker then warns the reporter: “My advice to you is that you should move out of there … it is a dangerous f**king place to work … I am telling you, read between the lines.”
The Two parliamentary opposition parties have called for Nandlall’s resignation in response to the recording. In a statement, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) termed the comments “reckless, irresponsible and outrageous”, and demanded that the government condemn them.
In an interview with GINA Nandlall insisted that the call constituted a “personal matter”. The government has publicly stood by the Attorney General.
Since the publication of the recording and the transcript, Nandlall has filed a $30 million defamation lawsuit against Glenn Lall and Adam Harris, Kaieteur News’ publisher and Editor, respectively.
The suit claims that the headline “Attorney General Reveals Plan to ‘HIT’ Glenn Lall, Kaieteur News” and article that accompanied the recording falsely implied that Nandlall was involved in criminal activity.