President David Granger on Sunday thanked the press corps for its handling of information of his illness.
In addressing the annual media brunch hosted at the Baridi Benab at State House, the Guyanese head of state said he was heartened by the “tenderness and sensitive handling.”
It was his first interaction with the media since being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The President was first diagnosed with the disease in mid-November 2018.
“Thanks to the entire press corps, particularly for their sensitive handling of my disease, over the past few months. It could have led to speculation, but I was very heartened by the tenderness or sensitive handling of the way in which it was handled,” he told the gathering.
Granger recalled making a promise to the Guyana Press Association (GPA) to provide assistance to its members and said finances from Government is now available.
He said that will go towards assisting the Association with hosting training workshops, forums and other activities to enhance the skills and professionalism of the local media corps.
The President also committed to providing support to the GPA for the publishing of its history.
The GPA will celebrate its 75th year in 2020. The press association is said to be one of the oldest, alongside the Press Association of Jamaica.
Meanwhile, the President also reminded members of the press, particularly managers and editors, of the social responsibility to the people of Guyana.
He reiterated the importance of fact-checking and ensuring that sound and accurate information is published or broadcasted. He called on the GPA to play a more active role in ensuring that practitioners conform to the generally accepted values and principles of journalism.
The President also cautioned media workers to be cognisant of the fact that Guyana’s ethnic relations could be volatile sometimes. He reminded that news entities carry an element of public trust, and said when someone reads something it has to be accurate.
Meanwhile, President of the GPA Nazima Raghubir in her remarks said 2018 has been a challenging year for Guyanese journalists in the region and further afield, making reference to the fact that the President only held one engagement with the media for the year.
“The challenges we face in the Caribbean and particularly Guyana is no different from what our colleagues around the world face. However, our freedom to express ourselves and the right to work and practice our craft is guaranteed and ought to be respected by everyone,” she said.
Raghubir reminded, however, that with freedom comes responsibilities, saying that the GPA remains committed to ensuring that its members and media workers are equipped with the necessary tools to practice professional, ethical and responsible journalism “In these rather eventful times, we have to ensure that we remain independent, factual and that our work cements social cohesion rather than fracture it.”