“Press freedom is an integral component of a democratic society” stated Mr. Michael Gordon, Editor-in-Chief of the National Communications Network, at a panel discussion in honour of World Press Freedom Day 2009, one of two activities hosted by 3rd year Communication Studies students of the University of Guyana, last Wednesday and Thursday.
The panel, with the theme “Media, Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”, as prescribed by UNESCO, also featured Mrs. Catherine Hughes – Managing Director of Video Mega Productions; Mrs. Carolyn Walcott – Lecturer of Communication Studies; University of Guyana; Mr. Gordon Mosely – Vice President of the Guyana Press Association and Capitol News journalist; and Mr. Terrence Esseboom – Lecturer of Communication Studies, University of Guyana.
The panelists addressed issues such as the Reinforcement of Mass Media Functions, Assessment of Guyana’s Media Regulations, the Need for Press Freedom to Prevail in Guyana, Highlights on previous Attacks on Press Freedom Locally and Worldwide, and Media Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.
Objectives of the panel were to empower potential media operatives to perform their roles in a sometimes hostile environment, to allow students to recognise the importance of press freedom to prevail in order for media operatives to effectively promote cultural harmony, to promote the need for media operatives to always keep in mind their obligation towards the development of society, to emphasise the need for press freedom to be kept alive, to encourage participants to become a vehicle of dialogue, and to promote mutual understanding.
The literary exhibition organised in honour off World Press Freedom Day was hosted in the University’s library the day after the panel discussion, and featured eminent Guyanese such as Janet Jagan and David DeCaires.