Members of Parliament from both sides of the National Assembly and some Ministers of Government have expressed shock and disgust at the decision by online news Inews which is owned by Government Minister Robert Persaud to publish a graphic photo of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide.
Minister of Human Services Jennifer Webster told News Source that the media still has to respect human rights and in this case, this is a traumatic event and its a child and we have rights for the protection of our children and I want to caution the media against those things”. The Minister explained that the Child Care and Protection Agency is examining the issue and is expected to issue a statement of its own.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand in a statement on her Facebook page called the Inews decision to carry the graphic photo of the child as “trite journalism”. She said she is “expecting that decency and compliance with regulations and good practice will trump the need to be sensational” and that the photograph be removed.
Government Member of Parliament and Presidential Advisor Gail Teixeira said she was upset with the publishing of the photograph and noted there ought to have been some dignity exercised by the media house.
News Source understands that she has since raised the issue with Minister Robert Persaud.
APNU Member of Parliament and spokesperson on Human Services, Volda Lawrence said the decision by the media house which is owned by a member of the Government would think it wise to publish the graphic photo of a child who committed suicide, tells us that something is wrong in the country.
Lawrence told News Source that “it is not about who brings the news first, it is about how it affects society as a whole and for a Member of this National Assembly, a Minister, a father to have something like that online day after day tells you that something is wrong with the way we think, something is terribly wrong. And I really hope we could get a grip of ourselves”.
In an effort to defend the publishing of the graphic photograph of the lifeless body of the child still hanging, the Editor-in-Chief of Inews, Fareeza Haniff said that her media outfit will not hide reality in the name of responsible journalism.
“iNews will continue to report the facts unadulterated and will not cover up the reality in the name of responsible journalism”, Haniff said.
Guyana has one of the highest suicide rates in the Caribbean and the Government and Non Governmental groups have been making efforts to deal with the troubling problem through several programmes.