PNC/R retracts President’s comments about media

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Three days after it issued a statement quoting its Leader and President of Guyana, David Granger as expressing concerns about “the daily challenges faced by the Coalition from some sections of the media,” the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) on Wednesday retracted its statement and said the President’s remarks were “taken out of context.”

“After examining the transcripts of Party Leader David Granger’s address to General Council on Saturday May 19, 2018, it was found that remarks attributed to him were taken out of context. The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is, therefore, retracting our Press Release dated May 20, 2018…” the statement from the Party on Wednesday noted.

Since the May 20 statement, the President, who was once a journalist, has come in for severe criticisms from sections of society, including Editors attached to the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News.

According to a Demerara Waves online article, the Editors believe that the remarks attributed to the President signal a “crackdown” on the media outlets that are critical of the APNU+AFC coalition government.

However, today’s statement from the PNCR sought to do damage control and made it clear that “President Granger has long been and will continue to be a strong advocate and defender of the freedom of information that is guaranteed under Article 146 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”

“The Leaders and members of the PNCR strongly believe that free access to information is an inalienable right of every citizen. It is an indispensable condition of democratic society. Citizens’ access to information is a democratic right and information is necessary for citizens’ informed participation in society. Restrictions in the flow of information deny citizens the opportunity to participate fully in decision-making and, thereby impair democracy,” the PNCR statement noted.

The statement further added, “The PNCR is committed also to non-interference in the independent media. Independent media act as watchdogs of the Government. They promote transparency by ensuring that information is provided to the public on the work of the Government.”

The party said there is no “good reason” for the state to interfere in the work of the private media.

“They are a source of valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the efforts of the Government. There is no good reason for the State to interfere in the work of the private media. The relationship between the State and the private-media must be seen as a partnership in providing a public good, that is, public information for the citizens of this country.

“Independence of thought must be preserved, professionalism must be promoted and the Constitution of Guyana must be upheld,” the statement ended.

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