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In the firing of words, the government-owned National Communications Network Inc. (NCN), on Monday, accused the Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) of attacking and intimidating their staff in the execution of their duties. According to the media outlet, the latest incident occurred on Sunday November 6, 2022, at Arcadia Four Corner, Mocha, EBD, where the opposition held a public meeting. “In the course of executing their duties to provide coverage of the meeting, two cameramen in the employ of NCN were attacked and intimidated by APNU + AFC Member of Parliament, Nima Flue-Bess.”
The Opposition fired back on Monday, referring to the NCN’s statement as untrue and malicious. According to the Opposition, “Ms. Nima Flue-Bess in the company of People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Public Relations Officer, Ms. Shaneika Haynes, approached two unfamiliar men attempting to record the public meeting without a press pass or any form of identification and inquired whether they were members of the media and representatives of which organisation. They were then cautioned against impersonating the media in the presence of the police and allowed to record the meeting without interference.”
NCN said they lodged a formal complaint with the Guyana Police Force and informed the Guyana Press Association (GPA). The Opposition said the GPA should have contacted them “especially when it is known by the public that NCN is not a fair and objective media entity but is subjected to the full political directive.”
Follow the exchanges below
National Communications Network
APNU + AFC continues its attacks and intimidation tactics on staff of the National Communications Network Inc. (NCN).
The latest incident was on Sunday November 6, 2022, at Arcadia Four Corner, Mocha, EBD, where APNU + AFC held a public meeting. In the course of executing their duties to provide coverage of the meeting, two cameramen in the employ of NCN were attacked and intimidated led by APNU + AFC Member of Parliament, Nima Flue-Bess.
MP Flue-Bess demanded that the cameramen present their IDs. Upon stating their place of employment, the cameramen were told there was no need for them to record the event. This was in spite of other cameras that were in place to cover the said event.
Having stood their ground to execute their duties, MP Flue-Bess then called the Police officials present to have the cameramen removed. The Inspector and Sergeant on the scene engaged the cameramen and then threatened to seize their equipment if they recorded the event.
It was only after the intervention of a Senior Officer that the cameramen were able to proceed with the execution of their duties.
This is not the first instance during which NCN’s staff have been attacked and intimidated and denied access to events hosted by APNU + AFC. During the National Toshao’s Conference in July, another camera-operator who arrived to give coverage to the Opposition’s reception for the leaders at Bookland Gardens, Woolford Avenue, was turned away by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton.
In May this year in Linden, the NCN team was again attacked during a poorly attended walk-about the Opposition had in Amelia’s Ward.
Last month, a member of the news team posed a question to the Opposition Leader over his threats to remove Jermaine Figuera as Region 10 Party chairman after he shook hands and interacted with President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali while on a walk about in Linden. After evading the question, Mr. Norton instead attacked the company’s coverage of his party’s events.
NCN forthrightly condemns these attacks by the APNU + AFC on its staff and views it as a direct attempt to intimidate and prevent them from performing their duties at a public event. This exposes a glaring double standard by the APNU + AFC which claim that NCN withholds coverage of their events.
NCN has since lodged a formal complaint with the Guyana Police Force and has informed the Guyana Press Association.
A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change
RESPONSE TO MALICIOUS PRESS RELEASE BY NCN
The APNU + AFC notes with much concern, a malicious press release published by the National Communications Network (NCN) purporting to impute improper motives against the joint political organizations.
We categorically refute these assertions as completely defamatory, mischievous and intended to create conflict between the political parties, and the media and as a feeble attempt to justify NCN’s refusal to allow the opposition equal air time.
At no time were media operatives attacked by any APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, supporter or any person at the public meeting in Mocha, East Bank of Demerara on Sunday 6th November 2022.
On that date, Member of Parliament, Ms. Nima Flue-Bess in the company of People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Public Relations Officer, Ms. Shaneika Haynes, approached two unfamiliar men attempting to record the public meeting without a press pass or any form of identification and inquired whether they were members of the media and representatives of which organization. They were then cautioned against impersonating the media in the presence of the police and allowed to record the meeting without interference.
Astonishingly the National Communications Network (NCN) now claims that the gentlemen are within their employ contrary to the said employees at the time stating that they were employed by another news agency.
Despite all the untruthful and ill-intent claims listed, the fact remains despite the alleged NCN employees failing to comply with standard regulations for members of the media, they were allowed to document the meeting.
Further, we call on the state-owned agency to follow all journalism and media coverage ethics and equip personnel with the necessary means of identification when covering assignments.
It is unfortunate the Guyana Press Association (GPA) without first contacting our organisation, especially when it is known by the public that NCN is not a fair and objective media entity but is subjected to the full political directive.