GUYANA Times carried back- to-back editorials on Wednesday, 3rd May, 2017 and Thursday 4th May, 2017, on the issue of press freedom in Guyana. The editorials were clearly intended to throw smoke over focus on on-going probes into corruption charges against former officials of the previous government and to throw mud on the new government and, by implication, Guyana.
This is not unexpected, since Guyana Times functions as the propaganda mouthpiece of the then regime, now the opposition. Most persons who read the Guyana Times would conclude that it is a PPP rag.
I wish to respond to some of the unfounded and mischievous claims being repeated and peddled by the Guyana Times under the pretext of quoting a “reporter.”
1. “Officials often use its defamation laws to silence opposition journalists”
The defamation Act has been in Guyana’s Statute books for the entire duration of the PPP’s rule. It was never amended or repealed. Guyana Times must say when and against which “opposition journalist” was this law used over the past two years, since the APNU+AFC Coalition took office.
2. “The members of the media regulatory authority are appointed directly by the President”
Guyana Times knows that the Broadcasting Act was crafted and approved by the PPP Government. The power to appoint the board remains the same that was used by Former President Jagdeo, the close friend of the newspapers’ proprietor.
Former President Jagdeo abused these laws and granted licences for television and radio to his party and business cronies and relatives. Under the new government, no one has been denied licences, at least not yet.
Mr. Editor, I know that Guyana Times will not publish this letter, as it is bent on publishing and repeating lies and misinformation. Much of the false news or fake news has been answered repeatedly by officials of the Government, but Guyana Times is determined to abuse the very freedom of the press that it hypocritically pretends to defend.