Journalists play an important role in every facet of life – PM Nagamootoo

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 2, 2019

Prime Minister, Hon. Moses Nagamootoo has urged local journalists never to underestimate the power they have to educate the public.

He was at the time delivering the feature address at the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Clare Forrester Media Awards for Excellence in Health Journalism 2019, on Sunday at the Guyana Marriott.

This year’s ceremony was held under the theme “Strengthening Health Systems to Achieve Universal Health, Through the Sustainable Development Goals in Guyana.”

The Prime Minister lauded the achievements of journalists and expressed his support for their continued dedication to media in Guyana.

“I salute you for your passion and dedication in promoting greater awareness in Guyana through health journalism. Last year – same date, same place and the same time – I also thanked the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) for reviving, since 2014, this Annual Media Award, and I do so again tonight.”

As a former journalist, the prime minister said personnel who give reportage on the health sector possess unique attributes and motivation.

It is not easy for them to reveal the facts without sensationalising the topic. It calls for dedication and commitment from the awardees in print, television, radio and online media. I truly believe in the power of media, and the important role that journalists play in contributing to every facet of life in our nation, the region and the world.”

The prime minister urged people to educate themselves through whatever medium they are comfortable with about health issues affecting Guyana.

“Public health, it is said, is everybody’s business. It is the business of both the public and private sectors, the business of all institutions and communities. All of us, at the levels of the nation, the region and the world, collectively have a role and a responsibility to guard the health of our peoples.”

The prime minister also highlighted that with 83,000 square miles, “no one can traverse this country quicker than the mass media.”

“In a country where the media is both plural and free, journalists have the power to raise awareness, to inform and educate our population and influence attitudes and behaviour in the interest of public health,” he stressed.

“It is evident that a partnership between the health sector and our journalist community has been forged, and that we [have been] seeing a consistent and sustained contribution of our journalists to health journalism,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo concluded.

Dr. William Adu-Krow, the PAHO/WHO Guyana’s Representative, noted the hard work, continuous improvement, and personal growth demonstrated by the journalists and explained that “health is an important component of daily life.”

Meanwhile, Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, relayed her ministry’s elation at the commitment of PAHO/WHO and the journalists to bring awareness to many trending health topics.

She also commended the organisation for reviving the Annual Media Awards and expressed delight that “the number of entrants in the competition has moved from the upper 20s to 104 last year and [now] to over 120 entrants this year.”

The National Communications Network (NCN) was the entity with the most submissions while Vanessa Brathwaite from the Guyana Chronicle was adjudged the overall winner.

The Minister of Public Telecommunications, Hon. Catherine Hughes and members of the diplomatic corps were also among the attendees at the event.

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