Jul 23, 2021 Letters
Kaieteur News (KN) through its columnist, Freddie Kissoon, has been regularly declaring the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) defunct for about 20 years. This obsession has recently widened to abusing other media houses who report on GHRA’s activities. On the one hand the GHRA is declared defunct, yet its every sign of life, as reported in other media predictably generates a near-hysterical diatribe from this columnist.
Kaieteur News denies readers the truth by suppressing GHRA press releases, allows attacks on other media houses that use them, thereby encouraging Kissoon to parade an avalanche of lies. All of the following statements made about the GHRA in KN are fictitious and repeated, despite our correction.
· Someone on the GHRA Board writes SN editorials (FALSE)
· GHRA has done nothing for people’s problems with NIS (FALSE)
· GHRA never condemned the 2020 elections (FALSE)
· Other media do not publish GHRA releases (FALSE)
· GHRA receives special treatment from SN (FALSE)
· Mike McCormack blocks younger people in the GHRA (FALSE)
· Kissoon’s claim of ever having been a member of the GHRA (FALSE)
· The GHRA is heavily funded from abroad (FALSE)
· The GHRA is an aging one-man show (FALSE)
· GHRA has had links with political parties (FALSE)
The Guyana Human Rights Association as a registered organisation is managed by an Executive Board, continuously elected since 1979, has annually audited accounts and owns its own offices, built from voluntary fund-raising by members and supporters. Of the 12 current Board members, eight have an average age of 30 years, drawn from all walks of life and backgrounds. The focus, direction for activities and releases are all made locally and collectively and not individually.
This obsession with the GHRA extends in his latest diatribe to “a very big, big person in the defunct GHRA writes editorials for the SN”. This is followed by the lamest excuse in journalism – I received this very confidential information from a well-placed source. Anyone assuming that a self-proclaimed historian might have some regard for fact, truth or accuracy is going to be misled.
The GHRA is not, of course, singular in attracting fulminations from him. The disclaimer below Freddie Kissoon’s daily column to the effect that the “views expressed are not necessarily those of this newspaper” is an indication that the paper expects and anticipates the fabrications he trades in. The GHRA has no problem with being criticized, if based on facts.
More objectionable are the attacks on the many decent people – not powerful people of course, they’re off-limits – who are subjected to the casual, cowardly bullying and lies of this Kaieteur News columnist. Freedom of Expression, which KN trumpets as “our core value”, is confused with the ability to contrive. Surprisingly for someone who lectures incessantly about human rights your columnist seems unaware that human rights is a struggle to subjecting the disordered use of power by the relevant principles of freedom, justice and equality at every level: the family, workplace, educational, religious and other institutions. His column is a continuous disordered use of the power of the media.
May we suggest that you, as Editor, pass on to Mr. Kissoon the press releases GHRA has been sending to you and former Editors at Kaieteur News – some 20 per annum – to save him having to learn about the GHRA from reading Stabroek News. Were you to publish them, even better?
Guyana Human Rights Association
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