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Today the Guyana Press Association (GPA) holds its election for new office bearers. At the last moment there were efforts to undermine whatever political independence the association has demonstrated thus far. There were manoeuvres that led to perception, not without merit, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government was moving to control the association.
Incumbent President Nazima Raghubir was suddenly being challenged by Neil Marks. What made the made Marks candidacy suspicious is the frontal involvement of the government to entice journalists to vote for him.
This was confirmed in a statement made by Gordon Moseley, journalist and owner of the online News Source that:-
“𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗚𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 “𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗱” 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗔𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀. 𝗔𝗯𝘀𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗼𝘂𝘀!!!
“𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀, 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘂𝗽𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗚𝗣𝗔 𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘃𝗼𝘁𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 𝗜 𝗵𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻.“
Then there was social media blogger, Mikhail ‘Critic’ Rodrigues, who moved to the court to stop the elections because he was not allowed to be a member of the association. Rodrigues makes no secret of his political association to the PPP/C and how he uses such association to his benefit, including verbally attacking those he perceives are dissenters or enemies of the PPP.
The court threw out his case. Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire S.C, in her ruling deemed his application “wholly misconceived.
Village Voice News earlier reported the significance of these elections cannot be overstated. The GPA plays a vital role in upholding journalistic standards, safeguarding press freedom, and ensuring unbiased reporting in the nation. We restate today.
The role of the GPA in defending the principles of a free press and protecting journalists from undue influence, in the hostile political environment, is more important than ever.
The outcome of the election will determine if the press, which has not been without undue partisan political influence, often to survive, will get a chance to maintain its fledgling freedom.