Media houses should endorse political parties rather than use “fancy editorials”- Nadir


By Tracey Khan – Drakes

Hard Talk[] – Chief Communications Officer for the APNU/AFC, Imran Khan is of the view that politicians from the Opposition camp are being held to higher standards that those from the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), who continue to be given a free pass when irresponsible statements are made.

Khan made the statement during his appearance on the radio show, ‘Hard Talk’ aired on 90.1 Love FM on Sunday March 22, along with Executive Member of the Guyana Press Association Nazima Raghubir, and PPP Parliamentarian, Manzoor Nadir. The programme focused on the role of the media and the tone being taken by politicians in the Election 2015 campaign.

In justifying his position, Khan said Guyanese are accustomed to the “cuss down politics that comes from Freedom house.”

He made a comparison between the ‘kick ass’ comment made by Former President Bharrat Jagdeo at Babu John and Opposition Leader, David Granger that, “Guyana is a land of jaguars, being led by Jackasses.”

According to Khan, discussions continue to surround the comments made by Granger, but former President Jadgeo’s comments are now forgotten.

“We look at the example of Babu John and the general national response and even the media response was there he goes again…so it appears as though the group that was at Babu John is being held at a much lower standard…you look at example a comment that was made by the Presidential candidate of the APNU/AFC at the Pegasus at a function recently it elicited national discussion and it appears from that discussion and from the feedback to that one word is that the APNU/AFC Presidential/Prime Ministerial Candidates they are held to a higher standard,” Khan said.

He conceded however with the host of the programme, Chris Chapwanya that it is the Opposition who has set itself on the pedestal of offering Guyanese a better political discourse and therefore will be held to its own standards.

Khan responded by explaining that, “we are not subscribing to cuss down politics and will not get involved in it.”

Meanwhile, Executive Member of the Guyana Press Association, Nazima Raghubir made it clear that politicians should not be given a free pass at any point especially when libelous comments are made.

Raghubir spoke of the difficulty journalists often experience, since it is their duty to report what politicians say.

“It’s either that you’re selling your story short to the public by not saying what was said but then you’re also caught between ethical lines because you have to be responsible.”

She explained that the role of the media cannot be understated in any part of the world and Guyana is no different, since the local media outfits have played significant role in bringing calm to society.

Adding to the discourse was Manzoor Nadir, who said politicians are aware they have to conduct themselves in a manner that will earn the respect of all Guyanese, since even those in the remote areas of the country are informed on political matters.

Nadir says he does not find any of the comments made by the Former President as inflammatory or race baiting as he accused one political Party of spewing that message to its supporters.

Nadir is of the view that local media houses should operate like the foreign media and endorse political parties rather than showing support in “fancy editorials”

“If they are going to support a political Party, don’t do it in the guise of fancy editorials and so come out and say we are supporting this…you know where they stand, that doesn’t make a politician who they didn’t endorse hostile to them but you may want to win them over back with some other means, but the media should come out; don’t hide and say that you’re independent, you’re objective, you give balance reporting…most of the media houses report negatively on the government,” Nadir said.

He tried to justify the reporting of the state media towards the Opposition and said it has not been antagonistic to the Opposition.

Nadir also boasted that the PPP has never lost elections and is well aware of what needs to be done to ensure this tradition continues, adding that their campaign is a structured one.