…Objects to “burdensome constraints” being placed on press freedom
The Guyana Press Association (GPA) yesterday afternoon urged the editors of all media houses to strongly consider not covering the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GIPEX). The event opens today at the Marriot Hotel and will conclude on Friday.
The GPA’s recommendation to boycott the event comes on the heels of guidelines which were issued yesterday to the media by the public relations officers for the event.
The guidelines, which the GPA considers to be “burdensome”, state that while the Opening Ceremony of the event will be open to full coverage for all accredited media; all other sessions will be limited to photos only in the first 10-minutes, except for those so identified for open coverage.
The Organizers also note that arrangements will be made by the GIPEX Communications Team to facilitate interviews between media personnel and key participants of the Summit/Exhibition. It notes, however, that “Unauthorized interviews in the Conference Hall are not permitted. However, the media room provided will be available for pre-planned interviews.”
The GPA subsequently wrote Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Owen Verwey, to register concerns about the said constraints.
The Association stated in its letter to the said authorities that while it objects to closed door sessions about an industry that Guyana and Guyanese know little about, it holds firm to the belief that transparency and open discourse is at the heart of the natural resources sector, which is the patrimony of all Guyanese.
The GPA said that the concept of unauthorized interviews is unheard of at any international conference. The Press Body emphasized that this smacks of gross disrespect and a violation of Access to Information and Media Freedom.
It further stated, “We acknowledge that there may be roles for the Communication personnel to act as liaisons wherever necessary, but not to grant or refuse permission/authorization. The Guyana Press Association urges Sagacity, its clients and associates to take swift remedial action in response to our objections. Please note that the Guyana Press Association reserves the right to encourage our members not to cover any aspect of the event.”
The Association noted that up to 5pm yesterday, its correspondence was not acknowledged.
The Press Body said, “We urge editors to strongly consider not covering GIPEX, as this clearly opens the door to justify these and even more restrictions now, and in the future that amounts to nothing more than insulting and degrading treatment to the media.”
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