‘Media must play big role in policing oil revenues’

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—-Western diplomats
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union said the media’s attention to accountability has never been more important in Guyana with a historically large revenue stream entering government coffers and a regularly stated intent to use those resources for a development agenda that cuts across all regions and races.
“There is also a larger principle at stake that strong democracies require free information flow in the public marketplace of opinions and ideas. As inconvenient as criticism can be to government officials and other leaders, it is an essential part of the democratic cacophony,” the Heads of Mission of the Embassy of the United States of America, Sarah-Ann Lynch; the British High Commission, High Commissioner Jane Miller; the Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman, and the Delegation of the European Union, Ambassador Dr. Fernando Ponz Cantó said.
World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated under the theme, “Journalism under Digital Siege.”
In a statement the diplomats said World Press Freedom Day gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the significant work of journalists, remind ourselves of the fundamental principles of press freedom and assess the current state of press freedom locally and around the world. “We recognise that media freedom is a cornerstone of democratic societies and essential to the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and universal values anchored in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.”

According to the diplomats the media plays an essential role in our societies, defending and advancing the truth and amplifying the voices of the public by sharing stories authentically. “Journalists have been at the forefront in times of danger in Guyana, including during incidents such as fires and flooding and they tell the heart-breaking stories of women and families who have been victims of domestic violence. Members of the media are a key source of information on national topics such as Guyana’s rapid development, while at the same time holding government, opposition, parliamentarians and others accountable.”

The ambassadors observed that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the media has helped to keep societies updated about developments with the pandemic, to learn of best practices to prevent the spread of the virus and importantly to counter false or misleading information. “With matters of life and the quality of life in the balance, journalists must be allowed to report facts freely without attacks and acts of intimidation or censorship at a time where the capacity to speak truth is constantly under attack around the world. Media freedom also requires freedom from all forms of undue influence or pressure, be it political, economic or financial, so that they can report independently and objectively. The abuse and harassment of journalists while doing their jobs must also not be tolerated. Female journalists and members of the LGBTQ community are often victims of inappropriate comments and sexual harassment and that must end. In a time where journalists are increasingly using a digital space, it is clear that bold action is needed from governments to acknowledge and address the evolving media environment. As the media continues to transform locally, the presence and voice of the Guyana Press Association is even more important, and we are also pleased to note Guyana’s membership in the Media Freedom Coalition. Together, we must engage constructively to find practical solutions to protect the voices of journalists in both the traditional and digital space. We thank journalists in Guyana for their continuous work which has not only informed but uplifted the voices of communities and we commit to continuing to support the local media and the fundamental principles of press freedom.”


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Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice. The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has saluted all journalists and media workers in this our rich and diverse country. This year’s World Press Freedom Day is being observed under the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”. “This theme is apt because of the emergence of more online-based media and the transition […]

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