GPA statements an ‘orchestrated attempt’ to influence international bodies, reports – GS Jagdeo

The Guyana Press Association’s (GPA) continued accusations and criticism of the PPP/C government have been described as an orchestrated attempt to influence international bodies and their reports.

This is the position of General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who was speaking at a press conference on Thursday at Freedom House, Georgetown. 

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He further noted that the actions of the GPA’s President, Nazima Raghubir, such as the blatant and sensational accusations of intimidation of media operatives, are an attempt at politicking in preparation for the ‘long overdue’ GPA elections.

“It is to make some of the journalists feel that if they vote for a different person in there, that they are part of some government plot. It is like trying to shame the journalists or the members of the press association into voting for status quo. So, I believe that this is part of the campaign. I would urge Nazima Raghubir not to use the PPP/C as her campaign. We don’t want to be part of your internal campaigning,”the general secretary asserted.

However, he made it clear that freedom of the press remains a priority of the PPP/C government.

“What we enjoy today is a far cry from the history under the PNC. So, as a political party that fought to change all of this, we have a vested interest in ensuring that we have a free, competitive media. We don’t censor people, we will respond. As I said before, we have a duty, if we believe that we are treated unfairly in the media, to point this out, but we will defend the rights of the media,” Dr Jagdeo emphasised.

The GS made reference to the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which reported that Guyana has dropped 26 spots.

It stated that journalists in Guyana are subjected to push-back from the government and supporters of the ruling party, citing President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s press conference in Region Three.

It also made mention of the attacks on journalist Davina Bagot, which, the general secretary stressed, was unreservedly condemned by the administration, and conveniently absent from the report.

Dr Jagdeo said that many global indices, such as the one published by the World Press Freedom Index, present their statistics based on biased reports from persons with political agendas.

“Reporters are getting killed around the world, and the countries don’t drop 26 points, but we drop 26 points because the press association sent something. They knew the report was coming up, and I think it was an orchestrated attempt by some media practitioners who are politically aligned to stir up issues that are non-issues, knowing it would influence the ranking,” the GS added.