New media must be embraced and not shunned by traditional media – Min McCoy
The new forms of media and journalism in the information age must be embraced and not shunned by traditional media. This is the view expressed by Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, MP.
The Minister was at the time delivering remarks at a reception held on Saturday in observance of ‘World Press Freedom Day’ at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner.
The Minister said the advent of social media creates a reality where traditional media faces competition and challenges. The Minister noted that for societies to grow, dialogue change and evolution must be embraced. Minister McCoy said the existence and growth of the traditional media and new media need not be treated as mutually exclusive, as it will no doubt see one advancing and expanding, while the other suffers the fate of extinction.
The Minister reminded that the ‘One Guyana’ that government is building includes everyone and not a specific group of people.
“We in the government believe in the universality of freedom of the press as was so passionately stated by His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali during his remarks at the National Press Freedom Conference. We cannot and will not support the oppression of any section of media albeit the non-traditional, non-conventional, irreverent section being oppressed, not even by the Bastian of the fourth estate itself,” the Minister said.
“There has to be the emergence of a middle ground that guarantees equal space for equal effort. While we will not dispute the narrow definitions of journalism being applied to this line in the sand, we are cognisant of the indisputable fact that many if not all citizen reporters and social media influencers practice some modicum of the tenets of journalism,” he said.
It was highlighted by the Minister that government is playing its role in providing training for persons in the media beyond facilitation dialogue as was done at the recently concluded National conference and symposium.
He said this is why government is investing in the Guyana Media and Communication Academy. Through partnership with the world’s leading learning virtual platform – Coursera, government will provide high-level training and reportable credence for journalists here, and in the diaspora.
“This is another opportunity for another level of practitioners in the media… I am absolutely willing to work with every single person, every journalist, every person in the media, every agency that sees a need for us to work together to better what we have to enhance,” the Minister stated.
It was stressed by Minister McCoy that as it relates to media, it is not the state verses private media, but rather all practitioners being able to serve, to be protected, to be independent and to be able to produce their best work.
Members of the media were also assured by the Minister that they are not under surveillance by the government and that there will be no state sponsored attacks on any journalist in the country.
The feature address for the event was delivered by Journalist, Denis Chabrol along with brief remarks from President of the Guyana Press Association, Nazima Raghubir.
Greetings were also delivered by High Commissioner of Canada, H. E. Mark Berman, United States Ambassador, H. E. Sarah- Ann Lynch, Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, H. E. Fernando Ponz Cantó, Deputy British High Commissioner Ray Davidson and UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Gillian Smith. World Press Freedom Day was observed on May 3 under the theme “Journalism under digital siege.”