PNC/R retracts statement, says President committed to non-interference in independent media

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The People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) on Wednesday retracted their previous press statement of the party’s General Council Meeting held on May 19, 2018, claiming that the quote made by President David Granger, regarding the media, was “taken out of context.”

President David Granger

In the previous press statement, Granger was recorded highlighting “the daily challenges faced by the Coalition from some sections of the media.”

However, this did not sit well with the populace and several media entities who are known to have been critical of Government in the past.

To this end, today, in another press statement issued by the PNC/R, the party said “after examining the transcripts of Party Leader David Granger’s address to General Council on Saturday May 19, 2018, it was found that remarks attributed to him were taken out of context. The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is, therefore, retracting our Press Release dated May 20, 2018, PNCR General Council Meeting.”

According to the party, President Granger has long been and will continue to be a strong advocate and defender of the freedom of information that is guaranteed under Article 146 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

“The Leaders and members of the PNCR strongly believe that free access to information is an inalienable right of every citizen. It is an indispensable condition of democratic society. Citizens’ access to information is a democratic right and information is necessary for citizens’ informed participation in society. Restrictions in the flow of information deny citizens the opportunity to participate fully in decision-making and, thereby impair democracy,” they asserted.

Furthermore, the PNC/R emphasised that it is committed to non-interference in the independent media.

“Independent media act as watchdogs of the Government. They promote transparency by ensuring that information is provided to the public on the work of the Government. They are a source of valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the efforts of the Government. There is no good reason for the State to interfere in the work of the private-media. The relationship between the State and the private-media must be seen as a partnership in providing a public good, that is, public information for the citizens of this country.”

Meanwhile, the retraction of the President’s comment comes on the heels of the Guyana Times newspaper expressing publicly, via a statement, that it was receiving threats from “Government agents” calling for the publication to desist from publishing news items that are critical of the Government.

“These persons have threatened that should this newspaper continue to pursue articles which are critical of the Government, its owners, management and affiliate companies will face dire consequences” the Times statement said.

The media publication said it views the reported threats as “being aimed at silencing us as a media house from performing our role as the fourth estate of democratic government.”

However, Guyana Times posited that it “will not be intimidated by these threats and will continue to report and cover the news fairly and fearlessly as it unfolds.”

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