As Guyana joins the rest of the World in celebrating World Press Freedom Day today, the western diplomats from the US, Canada, the UK and the EU believe media attention to accountability has never been more important in Guyana.
In a joint statement, the Diplomats said that media attention to accountability is especially important now with a historically large revenue stream entering government coffers and a regularly stated intent to use those resources for a development agenda that cuts across all regions and races.
The foreign diplomats also recognised the need for free information flow in the public marketplace of opinions and ideas, adding that “as inconvenient as criticism can be to government officials and other leaders, it is an essential part of the democratic cacophony”.
The Diplomats noted that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the media helped to keep societies updated about developments with the pandemic, to learn of best practices to prevent the spread of the virus and importantly to counter false or misleading information.
“Media freedom also requires freedom from all forms of undue influence or pressure, be it political, economic or financial, so that they can report independently and objectively”, the Diplomats said.
They also noted that abuse and harassment of journalists while doing their jobs must also not be tolerated.
“In a time where journalists are increasingly using a digital space, it is clear that bold action is needed from governments to acknowledge and address the evolving media environment. As the media continues to transform locally, the presence and voice of the Guyana Press Association is even more important, and we are also pleased to note Guyana’s membership in the Media Freedom Coalition.”
The western diplomats said together, all must engage constructively to find practical solutions to protect the voices of journalists in both the traditional and digital space.
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