Media owners, Managers sign on to Code of Conduct for May 11 Polls

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By Tracey Khan – Drakes

Proprietor of WRHM Capitol News, Enrico Woolford and CEO of NCN, Molly Hassan sign the Code of Conduct. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The revised media code of conduct will now monitor Cable TV and online news entities leading up to the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections. These two categories of media were not previously regulated.

Journalists, Editors and owners of media houses deliberated for two days on the changes to the Code of Conduct, which is expected to be the guide for operation of media outlets.

The changes were done by the Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) and media managers, who signed the document on Wednesday, February 18.

Director of the Center of Communication Studies at the University of Guyana, Dr. Poloma Mohammed said that even though the changes were minor, it will make a difference in the way journalists operate.

“I am really happy that we got to look at it again and it tells us that the process of perfecting is never over, because we were able to do a couple things which I believe strengthens what we already have,” Dr Mohammed said.

Director of the Center of Communication Studies at the University of Guyana, Dr. Poloma Mohammed. [iNews’ Photo]
It was also decided that the code will now be applicable for the post and pre-elections period. The post period will run until the formation of the first Parliament.

The meaning of the word, ‘safety’ was expanded to include Journalists, owners and operators of media entities, since concerns were raised about the safety of these categories of workers, whether private or state.

“We extended the definitions of hate speech to include all kinds of hate speech not only those that are directed to people as ethnic slurs, the extension of incitements to include everything else and therefore this is an interesting moment or possibility as well that Guyana National Broadcasting Authority can work together with broadcasters and media personnel to help to strengthen this code,” Dr Mohammed explained.

She added that clarification was also made among media operatives on the term, ‘equity’ which will ensure that all political parties are given fair and balance coverage.

Media owners, managers and journalists are expected to abide by the rules in the code of conduct.

GECOM’s Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally also introduced the members of the Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) who are all young University of Guyana graduates.