GPA mulls exposing ‘fake news’ outlets

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Ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which will be celebrated on Thursday, the Guyana Press Association(GPA) warned against the circulation of fake news.

In a statement Wednesday, the GPA said while it promotes freedom of expression, it shall not allow the profession of journalism to be smeared by those who promote themselves as the local guardian under the guise of being a media outfit.

As such, the Association said it will seriously consider whether, in the interest of the promotion of high-quality journalism, it shall have to name fake news outlets in an effort to protect unsuspecting members of the public from being duped or adversely influenced by fabricated content.

The GPA is also urging media houses to guard against political interference from both the Government and opposition.

The GPA said Editors and other media managers need to stand up to those in authority who seek to impose restrictions on freedom of expression because of their dislike of the opinions of others.

The Association said the most recent incident of this is the decision by the State-owned Guyana Chronicle to discontinue the contributions by columnists Professor David Hinds and trade unionist, Lincoln Lewis.

“Over the months we have had reports of government officials calling media houses to demand sources from reporters, to demand that media outlets refrain from providing coverage to other public officials and threatening to call the police to remove reporters from public meetings.

“These actions are not much different from the days when journalists were banned from the Office of the President or State House and media houses found their economic viability threatened over the withdrawals of state advertisement,” the GPA noted.

According to the Press Association, “None of this does the public we serve any good because, instead of keeping power in check, they are provided information that amounts to half-baked truths that in the final analysis make them less informed and educated to arrive at rational conclusions or decisions.

“The endgame is the cultivation and perpetuation of a destructive media culture in which media operatives see themselves as serving their political masters or other self-serving entities instead of the wider public.”

Further, the GPA raised the issues surrounding the impending Cybercrime Bill and called on the government and the opposition to work together to remove the contentious sedition clause.

Meanwhile, the GPA will be hosting will be hosting a midday lecture in observation of World Press Freedom Day tomorrow at Moray House Trust, Camp and Quamina Street, Georgetown.

The lecture will be done by Trinidadian, Afra Raymond, a leading expert in the fields of property valuation and project management. He is known for battling the government corruption rampant in his country, Trinidad and Tobago.

World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated under the theme: “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”.

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