– Coalition dubs claims “ludicrous, disingenuous and mendacious”
Citations of biblical scriptures, human rights articles and claims of harassment, characterize the latest fallout between the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) and the main opposition parliamentary block A Partnership for National Unity.
NCN is claiming that known activists and senior members of APNU have been constantly harassing media operatives attached to the network and that the safety of those individuals is under threat.
As a result, NCN has called on President Donald Ramotar, the National Assembly of Guyana, the Guyana Press Association, the Independent Media Workers’ Association of Guyana, the Diplomatic Community and the Guyana Human Rights Association to condemn the act by APNU, “which seem to be on a campaign to drive fear in our staff.”
However, APNU has refuted the claims made by NCN, calling them ludicrous, disingenuous and mendacious.
Yesterday, the media entity released a press statement condemning the harassment of its operatives by APNU members during the coalition’s ongoing public meetings, particularly in Region Four. NCN dubbed APNU’s actions an agenda to intimidate workers.
NCN listed four occurrences between October 1 and 3, where its workers were allegedly harassed during APNU meetings.
The state owned communications company claimed that on October 1, during an APNU Public Meeting at Laing Avenue, the coalition’s executive member Volda Lawrence, during an address, claimed that NCN’s reporter and cameraman were following her and Winston Felix, the coalition’s Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, “all night” so that they can record them and “take it to Rohee so he can talk about it on TV.”
NCN cited three other instances where workers were barred from covering meetings because they were identified as NCN employees.
The state-owned agency said that these cases occurred at La Retraite Primary School, West Bank Demerara; Bagotville Community Centre and Middle Dam, Pouderoyen. In these instances, NCN implicated APNU executive, Amna Ally and Opposition Leader David Granger.
NCN sought to send a message to Volda Lawrence that it is “not aligned to, or is an organ of any political party.”
The communication company found it important to note that on one hand, the coalition continues to accuse NCN of not providing them with coverage and on the other hand sought to evict NCN News team from its public events.
NCN said that “these recent acts of intimidation and attacks on our journalists, is a direct threat to press freedom in Guyana and a violation of. Article 23(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment…”
In its response to NCN’s utterances APNU called the company hypocritical.
APNU explained that it recently had cause to ask two reporters to leave a meeting after they “intentionally lied about their media affiliation; a cameraman claiming to be Dillon Sampson from Capitol News and a reporter who identified herself as Olivia Rose were asked to leave when it was determined that they were not from Capitol News but from NCN.”
The incident reportedly occurred at a meeting that was not open to the public.
APNU said that the “unethical” falsification of credentials by the NCN crew was reported to the management of Capitol News.
APNU said that it finds the claim by the NCN that it is not an organ of any political party to be a fallacious and extremely funny.
According to the coalition, it is a fact that NCN operates as an organ or mouthpiece of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration. APNU claims that it is also a fact that the NCN has an institutional policy that refuses to give equal time or coverage to opposition parties in Guyana and that NCN’s coverage of political and national events is biased.
“In 2012 the Leader of the Opposition had cause to write to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of Guyana to complain about the quality and biased character of reporting by NCN; at that time APNU threatened to exclude NCN unless they were more balanced in their coverage. In 2013 and 2014 the practice of gutter journalism and disinformation by NCN continues- nothing has changed.”
APNU sees the current accusations being made by NCN as part of the executive war on the legislative branch.
In a dossier titled ‘The Executive War on the Legislative Branch’ APNU listed 90 cases of biased reporting in favour of the PPP-C administration, which continues to grow.
APNU warned NCN and the PPP-C administration that it will not accept this level of reporting, because it deprives the people of Guyana the right to the truth.
APNU affirmed that there is no place in the modern media for the lopsided reporting and the daily attacks which are leveled against the opposition by the PPP-C administration through its ‘mouth pieces’ – The National Communications Network; The Chronicle and the Government Information Agency- GINA.
APNU said to the National Communications Network-”Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye; and then thou shall see more clearly to cast out the speck from someone else’s eye.”
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