GPA highlights ‘environmental crisis’ in World Press Freedom Day message

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As the world observes World Press Freedom Day 2024, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) believes that the theme: ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis’, underscores the vital role of the press in addressing local climate challenges and finding solutions.

In a video statement, the President of the GPA, Nazima Raghubir said the local press observes this day in Guyana amidst several environmental concerns such as the prolonged dry spells, solid waste management crises, and poor environmental management in gold mining and coastal areas.

“The local, regional and central governments must take collective blame for the state of our country’s environmental crisis- dirty streets and parapets, clogged drains and canals, and unregulated and unofficial dumpsites/ garbage piles,” the GPA President stated.

She also noted the “failure” to prosecute perpetrators who illegally dump waste and urged collective responsibility for addressing environmental issues.

“Taken together- solid waste and climate phenomena – Guyana is indeed facing an environmental crisis.

“Then, what’s needed by the media is constant and sustained training of a pool of specialist journalists whose task will be to simplify science information to make it palatable and connected to their daily lives,” Raghubir noted.

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the GPA, Rawle Toney highlighted that media workers need to “jealously guard against oil resources being used to bribe them from covering the real issues or engaging in disinformation.”

Rawle Toney

According to him, the GPA recommends that the government, private sector and United Nations organisations invest in ongoing productions on environmental issues “that will go beyond the average news story whose lifecycle is perhaps one day or a few hours or even minutes.”

Toney also spoke about environmental issues affecting indigenous communities such as river pollution from mining and waste disposal along the country’s coastline.

“Sections of the sea defence are now veritable dumping grounds for domestic and commercial waste. No one seems to care,” Toney explained.

While calling for unity in tackling the environmental crisis, Raghubir and Toney criticized government officials for not responding to an invitation to attend its World Press Freedom Day event.

“Sadly, neither the Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat nor the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Khemraj Parsram responded to the Association’s invitation to participate in its event for World Press Freedom Day 2024. However, the Association responded in the affirmative to the government’s invitation to participate in its World Press Freedom Day event.

“In light of the intolerable discourtesy extended to the Press Association by Mr Bharrat and Mr Parsram, the Guyana Press Association decided to withdraw its well-intentioned participation in the government-organised event,” Toney said.

Nevertheless, Raghubir used the opportunity to reiterate the GPA’s commitment to building the capacity of media workers.

“We remain open to pursuing specialised training covering various issues. This is evident with our proposals to the PAHO/WHO and the Ministry of Health in 2023 to help our journalists understand and report on suicides in Guyana, our proposal to the Ministry of Health to assist the media with training to help assist with its campaign on HPV Vaccines and our commitment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to ensure that press be informed before its informs on challenges to Guyana’s sovereignty.”

She also called for the Guyana Police Force to act swiftly in matters involving media workers and highlighted three incidents in 2023.

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1 Comment
  1. Terr says

    These are the assholes of the media ,dunce incompetent and they full a shit .There is no such thing a journalism in Guyana. These scums are 30 yrs behind time they are irrelevant.( Trouble makers Toney is more dunce and ugly than my doberman. He is a APNU/AFC racist stooge and his boss well she is an over size roll of wet shit stain toilet paper. These morons are a disgrace to journalism look at them UGLY ,DUMB UNEDUCATED and RUDE.

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