Kaieteur News – I didn’t know about this interview until it was sent to me. I would suggest you contact me by email at [email protected] – or phone- 614-5927 – and I will identify the interviewer and the interviewees.
I wanted to call the two journalists who were the guests for answers to my questions but I held back because of experience. When you do that, they call your newspaper and indicate that a column is coming out by me on them and if anything is not put correctly, they will sue. Naturally, the paper would suggest not to court trouble.
What you are about to read is incredible for a country with such a small population. The ocean of hypocrisy is bottomless in this country. So read on now and communicate with me and tell what kinds of humans this country has produced.
At the recent state sponsored symposium on the media, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) advised government leaders to speak to the mainstream media and not seek coverage on social media. Here is what the GPA pronounced on at that symposium: “If politicians across the divide claim to have any modicum of interest in improving the standard of journalism, then they ought to immediately cease utilising social media influencers (SMIs) in the place of journalists.”
It is widely suspected that this was in reference to policy-makers appearing on programmes run by a particular SMI where the policy-makers feel an ambience of comfort. Across the divide, opposition politicians are almost daily on the shows of SMIs who are open supporters of the opposition.
There is no such division as SMIs who are pro-government and independent SMIs. This society is well aware that Sherod Duncan, an APNU+AFC parliamentarian has a social media platform. There are opposition supporters like David Hinds, Rickford Burke and Mark Benschop who are extensively involved in the social media landscape. There is a pro-government SMI, Mikhail Rodrigues, who goes under the name “Guyanese Critic.”
It is unadulterated nonsense for journalists in Guyana to advocate the avoidance of SMIs then the same journalists appear on SMI programmes where the emphasis is on bashing the government. Now brace yourself for an insane revelation. I was sent a programme where one of Guyana’s most senior journalists together with an executive member of the Guyana Press Association (not the president) appeared on an SMI show.
Read on please! While being interviewed, these two senior journalists were trenchant in their condemnation of SMIs. One of them referred to SMIs as propagandists. They were harsh in their chastisement of SMIs but were interviewees on social media hosted by a SMI that this columnist considers one of the most dangerous propagandists and racist preachers in Guyana today.
In fact, this SMI opened his show by condemning the government’s refusal to allow a scholarship holder to stay abroad and do his graduate degree with his own money rather than coming home to serve. Since time immemorial governments send students with good A-level grades to do their Bachelor degrees. They then return, serve for five years, then the bond is finished and they can either finance their higher degree by private funds or seek a post-graduate scholarship.
That has been the pattern in Guyana before I was born and it obtains in most countries in the world. The entire social media show was anti-government. It would have been normal if ministers and opposition politicians were the guests. But look who the interviewees were – journalists who have been relentless in their chastisement of SMIs passing themselves off as journalists.
What do you make of this hypocrisy? One of those guests is an executive member of the GPA. Here is the question that all, not most, government ministers will ask. Will the GPA ask its member for an explanation? The story of those two journalists with that extremist SMI who said inciting things that a mainstream media would never carry is the story of a lost moral compass in Guyana.
Read in Guyana, the people who want an independent press. They are the least independent in their thinking. Read in Guyana, the people who want accountability and good governance. They are least tolerant people when it comes to accepting criticism.
Read in Guyana who the people are who speak of the need for credibility in the deportment of high state actors. They are the least persons to speak of credibility because they have none. Read in Guyana who the advocates of justice, rights and liberty are. They are the least interested in the rights of poor Guyanese. The ship of good men and women has sunk off shore. A new ship has docked. It consists mostly of hypocrites.
(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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