By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has signaled its intention to lobby the executive to have an oversight body set up to regulate and monitor the local media fraternity.
This stemmed from what the PPP/C says is an apparent blackout in the ‘opposition’ media of news emanating from the party.
The party is however being warned by the Guyana Press Association (GPA) to be cautious of such a move, having been accused in the past of attempting to muzzle the media.
On Monday October 7, at the party’s weekly press briefing General Secretary Clement Rohee chided the media, particularly the daily publications – Stabroek and Kaieteur News – for what he described as ‘gutter journalism’. “Stabroek News attends all our press conferences and receives our press releases but nothing is aired, while everything said by the opposition that is critical and uncomplimentary of the PPP is given prominence” Rohee said, adding that “the Kaieteur News feeds the nations a daily dose of misinformation.”
He boasted that the PPP and by extension the Government have a record of upholding press freedom and will continue to uphold the right to access to information since it is critical to making informed decisions.
Rohee went onto accuse the two media entities of having hidden agenda’s which is geared at controlling political power and derailing democratic progress made by the PPP who is currently celebrating 21 years in power and as such sees the need for an oversight body.
However, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) is saying not so fast. When contacted by iNews, GPA’s President Gordon Moseley said that the body has always encouraged self regulation by media entities.
“If someone is not satisfied with how they are covered it does not mean the entity is doing something wrong” he said, adding that “the PPP has been accused in the past of muzzling the media and ought to know better than to head down that road.”
Moseley added that “it was this same PPP Government that in 2010 wrote to the United Nations instructing it to cease funding of the GECOM media monitoring unit. That move forced the closure of that media monitoring unit.”
On the other hand, the opposition has in the past accused the state owned- National Communications Network (NCN) – of not providing fair and adequate coverage to them.
NCN’s budget was also cut by the opposition in 2012 and 2013 on these grounds.