Is the media giving the opposition a free pass? Local Journalists disagree

6

By Kurt Campbell

[www.inewsguyana.com] – A panel of senior local Journalists has resented any notion that may exist which seeks to suggest that the political opposition is not being held adequately accountable in daily reporting.

From L - R: Adam Harris, Janelle Persaud and Gordon Moseley
From L – R: Adam Harris, Janelle Persaud and Gordon Moseley

News Source’s Gordon Moseley was the first to disagree with the question: is the media giving the opposition a free pass? When he along with Kaieteur News’ Adam Harris and NTN Radio Editor Janelle Persaud sat down to discuss the role of the media in Guyana’s politically charged environment on the radio programme ‘Hard Talk’.

Moseley took a resolute stance; claiming that the local media has held all political parties equally accountable.

“The media has been there doing a fair job… if you look at daily reports and press conferences you will clearly see that,” Moseley argued.

There was also the argument that by holding one political party accountable it amount to bias. To this end, Persaud pointed out that the onus is on media personnel to ensure that media standards were not breached, whether it was being done by suppression or in the name of freedom of the press.

Harris in sharing his own experience recalled that he worked for both state media (thought to represent government views) and the private media (which is accused often of representing the opposition views).

“I learnt to blank out people questioning my work in fact I let people judge my work,” Harris said; adding that “When all is said and done we have our work to do.”

A somewhat heated argument erupted during the show when Moseley expressed the belief that media practitioners should not let their political affiliations be known as he recalled seeing a reporter wearing the t-shirt of a political party, while on the job at a public rally. He fears that by doing so one’s objective reporting could be discolored.

His expression was met with disagreement from Persaud who said “Guyanese need to mature to the point where there is respect for people’s position and views… we (Journalists) are first citizens of a country and we should be able to make our political convictions public.” To support her argument Persaud pointed to what is obtained in the US media, where Journalists declare their support for either the Democrats or Republicans.

Harris supported both perspectives, but insisted that no reporter, on the job, should go on a political platform or march for a political cause.

The trio was unified in pointing out that too often the media is made a scapegoat and blamed by political parties. To this end, Harris pointed to the unwillingness of some public officials when approached by the media but turns around to criticize and sue when misinformation is published.

Persaud shared her personal experience in this regard too. She recalled the refusal of several opposition members to offer comments and appear on her show during her tenure at the National Communications Network (NCN).

State of Media and Responsibility

They collectively cautioned against educating the public while being uninformed, not verifying information or sensationalism, all of which could result in breaches of journalist standards and ethics.

Moseley, who is also President of the Guyana Press Association believes that the media has come a long way and operate in a fairly free environment. He said however that there are cases where efforts are made to suppress press freedom.

He said too that the media corps is more responsible than not, while also pointing to cases of bad and irresponsible reporting.

Meanwhile, Harris supported Moseley; expressing the view that the local media in Guyana is free. He said while there was some truth to it, politicians should refrain to flagging the media pro or antigovernment/opposition.

Persaud expressed a slightly different view; claiming that while the media is free in respect to where it was years ago, its freedom is very relative. This thesis is linked to the labelling of media operatives by political actors based solely on place of work, she added.

The panel also touched on sensationalism; admonishing that while the citizenry may have an appetite for it and it increases income, it remains reckless and unethical.

 

 

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. i think SN came on board after your founding ruler father burnham died in 85. if your founding ruler father was alive SN would have to operate out side of Guyana..

  2. As one-time media practitioner in Guyana in the late 80s, media freedom was not as it is today in Guyana. The government’s views dominated the day, as there was hardly any private media house of significance. But this slowly started changing with the advent of Stabroek News in 1986, followed by the PNC’s decision to hold free and fair elections in 1992 and the subsequent growing demand by Guyanese for greater press freedom, which the PPP had no choice but to allow since it campaigned in 1992 on a platform of greater freedoms!

    Today, despite government media outlets enjoying financial and material resources that edge out by a wide margin their private competitors , the government is still losing the race for people’s minds. And it has nothing to do with the private media giving the opposition any pass. It has to do with government’s complete disregard for private media reports of pervasive corruption, penchant for engaging in political entitlement and enrichment activities, and dogged determination to become a dictatorship!

    The government media cannot explain to Guyanese how government can spend US$200m on the Skeldon modernization plant that does not work, or millions on the Enmore packaging plant or the Surendra pumps that have not been delivered, or millions on an international hotel that was built by Chinese-only labor with Guyanese taxpayers’ money, or the awarding of contracts and selling out of resources and assets to Chinese without transparency. And that is just a synopsis of government’s egregious behavior that Guyanese are familiar with. So if the private media are giving the opposition a pass, it has to be in the area of not demanding the opposition does more to stir up people into action to oust the government via popular protest, which Ramotar has no problem with since he supports the Cuban Revolution which drew popular support from Cubans!

  3. Real eye or false eye..its people like you who dont like to hear facts who dont like the truth…u wont say when u look at NCN opposition..all opposition are invited to come tell their side but choose not to show up…arent you the racist we have to keep tabs on?? dismiss you in short order..

  4. Guyana’s media is divided,they are either pro or anti,they support either government or opposition. Regardless how they preceived themselves they are not known to be professional. This is brcause of their political biasness.

  5. Gray you at it again my boy. I am not going to sit hear and say the Guyanese media doesn’t pay more attention to the PPP then the opposition. With that being said we have to wonder why, and the answer is quite easy there in power. An example of this is none other then president Obama in the U.S .His Democratic party gets bashed every hour on the hour. And just like the U.S Guyana is a so called freedom of speech society. When I look at NCN everything reported is pro government, while the opposition get nothing but bad press. Even in the 2011 elections you rarely had any APNU or AFC adds on that station . you say that SN and KN is anti government which to me is a false statement .The same can said about the pro government media outlets who run anti opposition stories all the time. And a next thing can we please get off the Racist talk now, who cares if Anand Persaud, and Glen Lall are east Indian. That same racist mind set has hurt Guyana as a nation time and time again . And you wonder why the young people of today don’t have any interest in politics, because people like you keep us down with this backwards racist attitude. One People One Nation One destiny .

  6. Moseley..does not ask questions…Moseley does put it to PPP members…Moseley dont get the answers he want Moseley then turn like the green giant and argue…Moseley opinions are facts and truths..Moseley is seen by many as anti PPP and a racist when Moseley does not get his way..Adam Harris on the other hand is same as Mosley but does his work in a much sneakier way but most people see through him….SN and KN are the most deadly opposition to PPP..East Indian Anand Persaud and East Indian Glen Lall do their nasty work because of hate…They both hate Jagdeo and are very afraind of PNC…The main reason why these two SN and KN cant report too much on PNC is because both Anand Persaud and Glen Lall knows PNC record….They are afraid of PNC when it comes to telling the truth…Poor Guyana are very much afraid of PNC Walkie Talkie..SN and KN never report on PNC past atrocities for the young generation…When opposition journalists views and opinions becomes the news then you know they are very much afraid of the truth

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