‘Shameless insult to the media’ – GPA hammers President on lack of press conferences

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The Guyana Press Association (GPA) says it endorses recent criticisms of President David Granger’s failure to hold periodic press conferences.

A statement from the GPA Wednesday noted that the response from the Ministry of the Presidency to a Stabroek News editorial is “nothing but a shameless insult to the intelligence of the media corps and by extension the Guyanese public at large.”

A Stabroek News July 9 Editorial criticised the Head of State for not engaging members of the press regularly and pointed out the fact that since assuming office in 2015, he only held two press conferences.

But the Ministry of the Presidency rejected the assertions made in the Editorial and noted that the “President makes an effort as regular as possible to engage members of the media, particularly during public exercises.

The GPA, however, rejected this notion.

“For the record, the President barely speaks to the media for five minutes after any official engagement.

“This was evident when the President was approached on Monday, July 16th, 2018 for a reaction to accusations of non-fulfilment of promises by the National Toshaos Council. The Head of State barely afforded reporters a 1-minute opportunity until they were forced out of the way as he hopped into his car,” the GPA noted.

According to the GPA statement, “in the not too distant past, as Opposition Leader, the media were summoned to weekly press conferences by Mr Granger or told that he was available for public comments and interviews.”

“The GPA sends a clear message to the President and the wider Ministry of the Presidency that these side-line interviews cannot be substituted for press conferences, and are at best limited cosmetic media access.”

The GPA said it awaits the announcement of frequent press conferences with the Head of State.

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