Kaieteur News became the most popular newspaper in Guyana because it was a newspaper which the ordinary citizen could identify with. The newspaper has had no class affiliation and no political or economic ideological bend.
The same cannot be said of the other newspapers in the country. The Stabroek News has made no pretence in its editorial policy that it is committed to an open economy which basically means political freedoms but also a free market bias. It was established with help of a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization notorious for meddling in the internal affairs of countries to which the United States is opposed.
The Guyana Times is owned by a member of the powerful business class and has received a disproportionate share of government advertisements relative to its circulation. It is perceived as a pro-business newspaper aligned to the PPP/C.
The state-owned Guyana Chronicle is supposed to be owned by the citizens of Guyana. But, being controlled by the government, it has become a mouthpiece of the ruling elite, both under the PPP/C and under the APNU+AFC.
The people’s paper is the Kaieteur News. Its owner, Glenn Lall, started at the bottom of the income ladder and has worked his way up the rungs. He has never forgotten where his feet were when he was a market vendor and trader.
He is one of the bravest individuals in Guyana and his mouth has no padlock. He is a straight shooter. One thing you can also be sure about Glenn Lall, there is no pretence in him. Whatever he feels, he speaks his mind no matter who you are.
He has an innate sense of justice and fights for that cause. He would not allow political or economic interests to force him to change what he is and directs his paper along the same lines.
As can be seen now, he is waging a one-man battle against the rape of the country’s oil, gold and timber resources. He is fighting for a better deal for the country but is not doing so as a socialist or communist. He believes that given the wealth which the country has, that Guyanese are entitled to a higher standard of living and he is educating the public how they are been betrayed by their country’s leaders.
This is not a message against any one of the two main political parties. The Kaieteur News has been consistent. It strongly opposed corruption under the PPP/C administration, condemning the deals which were made by that administration. The PPP/C credited the APNU+AFC victory in 2015 to the exposés done by Kaieteur News especially in relation to the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project, the controversial models for the Marriott Hotel and the Berbice River Bridge and the land deals which were made.
But when APNU+AFC came to office and began to exhibit similar symptoms, the Kaieteur News was also critical of them. This newspaper also took a principled stance in condemning the attempt to rig the elections. And it has now turned the spotlight on the PPP/C reversion to its old habits.
It is this consistency and the principled positions it takes which has endeared the newspaper to the average man. If you look at the sale of the newspaper you will realise that the average man has a preference for the Kaieteur News.
But the Kaieteur News has paid a huge price for its positions. For the first 10 years of its existence not a single state advertisement was ever given to this newspaper even though it had become the country’s leading daily. Its pressmen were assassinated when persons invade the printer. This attack it is believed was intended to send a signal to the newspaper that persons were not comfortable with its reporting. Then, under the APNU+AFC, a grenade was thrown under the vehicle of the owner of this newspaper.
At present taxpayers’ dollars are being used to woo journalists away from this newspaper. It is an attempt to cripple this newspaper by offering super salaries to woo employees away from this newspaper and to turn them into information officers reporting on the government’s line.
This newspaper also has been subjected to a number of libel suits some of which were intended to silence the newspaper and prohibit further coverage of certain issues. All manner of tactics have been deployed against this newspaper but it remains the people’s newspaper and it continues despite all that it has been subjected to.
Despite all of this the Kaieteur News remains courageous in its reporting. It has not shirked from its responsibility and it has not compromised its principles. No class interest is going to intrude on this newspaper. It is the people’s paper and will remain so, come what may!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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