Speaker calls on Guyana Chronicle to lift level of journalism
On Sunday, June 17, 2012, the Guyana Chronicle carried a front-page story headlined: “Consequent Upon Rebuke of Opposition MPs…Speaker Violates Impartiality of Chair”
This story blatantly, and perhaps maliciously, stated that the Speaker of the National Assembly had succumbed “to verbal onslaughts of opposition MPs and backpedals on ruling”. References were made of threats to the Speaker, and even to his family background. It was a vile attack on the Constitutional Office of Speaker of the National Assembly; clumsily disguised to implicate Opposition Members of Parliament as the real culprits.
Without ever checking with the Speaker as to what transpired on the evening of Thursday, June 14, 2012, the story stated that the Speaker was “vilified for his ruling by his colleagues who descended to the most despicable behavior and harangued in the basest terms, for hours afterwards.” This, in the opinion of the Guyana Chronicle, caused him to reverse a previous ruling.
This is furthest from the truth, as when the Ruling was being read, the Speaker clearly indicated that there were some corrections to be made. Later, the Speaker circulated the corrected version of the Ruling.
It is apposite to note that the Ruling on the request to exclude Financial Paper 9 was, for all intents and purposes, an extrapolation of an earlier ruling given in March, 2012 on the right of the National Assembly to examine requests for expenditure by the Government. In that earlier ruling, the Speaker had indicated that the Minister of Finance has the right to resubmit the 4 (four) Financial Heads that were disallowed by the National Assembly.
The two rulings of March and June, 2012 are meant to be read together.
At no time was the Speaker threatened, or harangued, by any Member of Parliament about his ruling, and this blatant untruth being peddled is unworthy of a media house that wishes to be taken seriously.
Journalistic ethics require the editors to verify the truth of statements made in stories submitted by their reporters. In this case, a story alleging that the Speaker of the National Assembly was threatened by Members of Parliament, is so grave and threatening to the national security, order and good governance of the State of Guyana, that at the very least, the Speaker should have been asked to verify it.
This report has to be condemned as shameless and cowardly journalism, and the Guyana Chronicle is called upon to retract it, and to lift the standards of its journalism if it wants to be taken seriously in the future.
It is obvious that there is talent within the ranks of the Chronicle, but its journalistic excellence is being overshadowed and retarded by the specter of nasty and divisive politics.
Speaker of the National