May 08, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The Alliance For Change (AFC) has noted with grave disappointment the decline in press freedom in Guyana. The 2023 report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that Guyana has dropped 26 spots moving from 34 in 2022 to the 60th spot in 2023. The Report ranks 181 countries surveyed with one (1) as the country with the highest level of press freedom.
On May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day, AFC reiterated its commitment to freedom of the press and its respect for the role of the fourth estate in building a democratic society. In a statement, the party noted that it holds firmly that media workers must be allowed to carry out their duties responsibly without fear of intimidation and/or bullying and expressed its solidarity with journalists working to promote democracy and a better society and urges all journalists to uphold the principles of good journalism.
AFC Executive Member, Catherine Hughes noted that within the past few months especially, Guyana witnessed what can only be described as callous disregard for the role of the media in strengthening democracy and ensuring the basic human rights of all citizens are protected.
“Under this PPP Administration, journalists have been the victims of cyber-attacks and ridicule and the Administration and State apparatus have done nothing to quell such behavior,” Hughes said in a statement.
In fact, she noted that on April 28th Clayton Weimers, RFS Director, US Bureau issued a statement condemning what he termed, the harassment and intimidation of journalists in Guyana through online targeting and disrespect from the administration. “Whether directly attacking the media or encouraging supporters to do so with a wink and a nod, President Ali is putting journalists at risk for simply doing their jobs”, Weimers has stated.
The 2023 RSF Report notes that, “While Guyana protects freedom of speech and the right to information, journalists who oppose the authorities face intimidation.” This is an accurate and damning assessment of the PPP regime where threats, victimization, intimidation, and oppression are standard operating procedures.
When taken in conjunction to Guyana’s ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index, we see a regime that is subverting press freedom to hide its corruption. Last year, Guyana scored 40, the lowest for the English-speaking Caribbean and the second lowest from among the CARICOM countries on the CPI. Guyana also ranked 85th among the 180 countries surveyed.
RSF defines press freedom as, “the ability of journalists as individuals and collectives to select, produce, and disseminate news in the public interest independent of political, economic, legal, and social interference and in the absence of threats to their physical and mental safety.
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