GCRG Media Release: Press Freedom Index deeply flawed

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is deeply concerned by what it considers to be a deeply flawed and undated report on Guyana’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RWD).

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who has portfolio responsibility for information, is unaware that RWD has conducted any survey or inquiry into press freedom in Guyana and questions whether its findings were based on credible sources.  The report states, “journalists are subjected to harassment that takes the form of prosecutions, suspensions and intimidation.”

The Government of Guyana is not aware of a single instance of any journalist being subjected to harassment or prosecution in Guyana since May 2015 when the Coalition Government assumed office. The Government of Guyana suspects that the Reporters Without Borders write up on Guyana is based on old information which pre-dates 2015. Guyana has since distanced itself from the crude subversion of the press, and its conversion into partisan political propaganda outlets under the previous government.

Recently, there were two cases of unjust suspension of state media employees which were robustly condemned by senior officials of the Government of Guyana. These were addressed to the satisfaction of the affected employees.

The media in Guyana has never had greater latitude and freedom to operate without interference from government intrusion, control or direction that it presently does.

The Government of Guyana is pleased to have recently approved the appointment of an independent and professional Board of Directors of the National Communications Network (NCN) and is currently reviewing the Board of Directors of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited with a view to reconstituting that board as well.

The Government of Guyana is unaware of any intimidation of media workers and calls on Reporters Without Borders to update its country information with current and relevant information which reflects the reality in Guyana, and not allow itself to be compromised by fake news and false reports.