Apr 09, 2018 News
– Canadian High Commissioner
Canadian High Commission to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee has underscored the role of the media in holding decision makers accountable.
Chatterjee was at the time speaking at Saturday’s opening of a two-day training session for journalists at the Parliament Chambers jointly hosted by the Parliament Office, Guyana Press Association (GPA), the Canadian High Commission and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers.
“In our democracies, the media is a fundamental part of the political life. Their role is to investigate and examine the facts to ensure that power is checked and decision makers are held accountable,” Chatterjee stated.
Journalists attending the training session were afforded the opportunity to discuss a code of conduct for media operatives in the general sense. The Parliament Office is in the initial stages of drafting a code, but insists that the GPA will help craft the final version.
The draft of the code which is available to members of the Parliament’s security sub-committee was not made available to the media during the training session.
Chatterjee pointed out that the independent media plays a pivotal role in shaping how persons view the world and how opinions are formed.
While advances in technology are dramatically changing the way and speed with which information is accessed, Chatterjee noted that the role of media remains the same.
GPA President, Nazima Raghubir said that training is the beginning of a long overdue conversation that the media and Parliament, including members of Parliament, needed to have.
“I see this training as necessary, as critical and important. We, the media have a major role to play in the development of this country as well as ensuring the democratic processes and channels are intact. To do that, to play our role and to do our jobs, we must be informed, we must be knowledgeable and most importantly we must be responsible,” Raghubir stated.
The GPA President stated that at the end of the day both sides needed to think about the vendor who is sitting at Stabroek Market, a mother watching the news at night, the budding lawyer studying overseas looking at Parliament’s live feed or the farmer trying to catch a radio signal to listen to budget debates.
Presentations were made by executive member of ACM Wesley Gibbings and Editor-in-Chief of Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday, Judy Raymond, both from Trinidad and Tobago. Both flew in from Trinidad and Tobago to be part of the training session.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes and Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira addressed the topic of Parliamentary coverage from a Members’ perspective while Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs along with Parliament staff provided insight on several issues relating to the business and sittings of the National Assembly.
Attending the sessions were Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland; Members of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira and Audwin Rutherford.
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