The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which had one of its leaders describe local journalists as vultures, banned reporters and withhold government ads from the private newspapers during its time in office, is now expressing concern about censorship of the media in Guyana.
In a Monday morning statement, the PPP said, persons of various political hues and shades are voicing their concerns and reservations over the role and content of the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper. The party said “press censorship is being driven from the office of the Prime Minister in particular and the Ministry of Presidency in general; the vehement denials notwithstanding.”
But when the PPP was in office, the Guyana Chronicle had refused to carry a number of political ads for other parties during elections and was also accused of several racially charged letters and editorials that were allegedly directed from the Publicity office at the Office of the President under the PPP.
The party believes that it now has a more open policy to the press when compared to other political parties in Guyana.
“The People’s Progressive Party is the only political Party that hosts a weekly press conference at which one or two press statements are read and subjected to questioning by journalists present. The statements are promptly sent electronically to all media houses”, it stated.
The party said “what censorship basically does is to deny Guyanese readers another view apart from the official view which appears to take pre-eminence over the non-official view including those of the PPP.”
It has consistently attacked the private newspapers, Stabroek and Kaieteur, for not carrying its many press releases that issued weekly.
Although several US State department reports had raised concern about the way the press was treated in Guyana under the PPP, the opposition party maintains that when it was in office, press censorship was virtually non-existent save for a few occurrences which cannot be described a press censorship”.
The PPP’s statement comes following reports that the Guyana Press Association has written to the President expressing concern over instances where Government Ministers and Officials appear to be interfering with the work of the state media.