….says it not nothing more than propaganda, blatant distortion of fact
As it published its final report on coverage of the 2015 elections campaign, the Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) took Evening News to task over routine references to the new, incumbent APNU+AFC government as “the de facto Government.”
The report, released last evening, came just over a month since the General and Regional Elections concluded. It noted imbalances between the negative and positive coverage offered by various media houses before, during and even after the May 11 polls.
This report also served to highlight the Unit’s observations, analyses and conclusions of the performances of the print and broadcast media vis-à-vis the 2015 Elections Media Code of Conduct (MCC), for the above-stated period.
The body said it had observed that subsequent to the declaration of the results of the 2015 elections by GECOM on May 16, the news presenters of the Evening News newscast, aired on Television Guyana (TVG) Channel 28, have, as a matter of routine, been consistently referring to the new, incumbent APNU+AFC government as “The De facto Government.”
“The Unit sees this blatant distortion of fact as nothing more than propaganda in support of the political rhetoric continuously being spewed by the now main opposition political party. In fact, we venture to state that the peddling of this untruth on the newscast, over the time it has been occurring, has served to diminish the objectivity and professional standing of an otherwise informative news programme.”
The body highlighted that it was a clear breach of Section I of the Media Code of Conduct (MCC) which states: “The media acknowledge that the deliberate distortion of reality so as to lead the public to a particular understanding of events and issues, without regard for reality, can poison the processes of democracy and therefore should never be done.”
The Unit presumed that, “The purveyors of this propaganda line are well aware of the findings of countless media research which have shown the immense influence of the mass media in shaping people’s opinions and behaviors.”
The body said that it alluded to these findings in making the point that the deliberate and seemingly unceasing labeling of the country’s legal government with the term “de facto” can lead gullible citizens into carrying out unlawful actions, stemming from the misplaced belief that the government is unlawful.”
In light of their observation, the Unit strongly urged that news team to respect the lawful declaration of the results of the recently concluded elections, as issued by GECOM; and, to cease forthwith, from labeling the government as “de facto” in their news reports, until and unless the courts of this country rule to the contrary.
Essentially, the 43-pages report looked at the media’s coverage of the incumbent government, as a political entity in its own right, and the parliamentary political parties – A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), and, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – during the important post-elections period between the swearing-in of the country’s eight Executive President and the initial sitting of the eleventh Parliament.
The Unit made note that at the time of writing the report, the PPP/C did not name its parliamentarians or take up their allotted seats at the first sitting of Parliament held on June 10, last.
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