Do not be purveyors of untruths – PM urges journalists – at PAHO/WHO Media Awards
GINA, GUYANA, Monday, December 5, 2016
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo has pledged the government’s support to guard the rights of journalists as they carry out their work.
“My Government will continue to guard your right as journalists to work in an environment which allows and affords you freedom and independence, to report and comment on facts,” the Prime Minister told journalists at the PAHO/WHO Media Awards on Saturday at the Pegasus hotel
Prime Minister Nagamootoo pointed out that, “the media have been able to conduct their work freely and openly” since the government came into office in May 2015. However journalists were cautioned that this comes with immense responsibility.
Urging journalists not to be purveyors of falsehoods as they undertake their work, he said, “There must be no room for partisan journalism, for bias and prejudiced reports and accounts. There must be no room for personality attacks and character assassination; no room for reports that incite racism, hatred and religious bigotry,” the Prime Minister said in his feature address.
The Prime Minister noted that often time there is an agenda of “fear mongering and hatred and division” which sometimes dominate the local media. This “worries me since it is a betrayal and bastardisation of journalism,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.
The Prime Minister pointed to the “misinformation and disinformation” being peddled in the media with regard to Budget 2017 and what the measures mean.
Poor and irresponsible journalism can also hurt one’s country and people, the Prime Minister told journalists.
“As Guyanese, I believe we have an overriding duty to ensure that while we remain true to the principles of journalism, that we expose and showcase the beauty and charm, hospitality and warmth of our dear country to the people of the world, so that they may be tempted to visit and form bonds of friendship with our people,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.
Journalists were also reminded that their work must always seek to inform and educate the public about affairs which affect their lives. “Journalists must be ultra-conscious of this and zealously and uncompromisingly guard it,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo urged.
The Prime Minister also reminded journalists of their obligations when reporting on health issues. “In health journalism, there is a strict obligation, not only to report facts, but to avoid reporting breaches in confidentiality rules. There are diseases that carry with them social stigma, and irresponsible reporting could expose entire families to odium and condemnation.”
PAHO/WHO awards journalists annually for their reporting on various issues in the health sector.
By Tiffny Rhodius