Parliament hosts media training on parliamentary reporting
DPI, GUYANA, Saturday, April 7, 2018
Members of the media today began a two-day training exercise on parliamentary reporting which is being facilitated by Parliament in collaboration with the Guyana Press Association (GPA).
At the opening of the first session in the Chambers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, noted the training is the first in a series of engagements with the media to build a better relationship between Parliament and the press.
“We hope that at the end of this meeting … you begin to see us as, not as the place to which you come when Parliament is sitting, but a place to which you can turn for information not necessarily only connected to the sitting; then we would have achieved what we set out to do,” Dr Scotland said.
President of the GPA, Nazima Raghubir, said the training is long overdue. “I see this training as necessary, as critical and as important. We the media have a major role to play in the development of this country as well as ensuring that the democratic processes and channels are intact.”
Raghubir, who was elected GPA president this year, stressed the importance of knowledge and responsibility in parliamentary reporting. “We need to use this opportunity to understand our respective roles and also to listen to each other.”
The GPA president noted that the training is to ensure journalists effectively serve the citizens in their reporting. The exercise is also being facilitated by the High Commission of Canada and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM).
At the opening Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee noted that Canada is pleased to partner with Parliament and the press associations.
“The importance of all our endeavours today cannot be understated. The press opens opportunities on a vast and growing scale by unlocking the unknown, revolutionising access to information and ultimately transforming people’s lives,” she said.
The High Commissioner stated that the media play a pivotal role in a democracy with journalists as the vanguard of that democracy. High Commissioner Chatterjee noted that Parliament represents the pinnacle of democracy.
“In our democracies, the media is a fundamental part of political life. Their role is to investigate and examine facts to ensure that power is checked and that decision-makers are held accountable.”
The High Commissioner will be presenting an independent thought on media coverage during day one of the training.
Meanwhile, Executive Member of the ACM, Wesley Gibbings, in his opening remarks, noted that the media and Parliament are “indispensable to the democratic process.” He will be facilitating a training session on the media and its role in a growing democracy.
Gibbings noted that there is often tension between the press and politicians but reminded media representatives present that “the tensions between these two groups of people ought to be creative tensions that would lead us to a path of democracy and because of that democracy on a path of development..
During the training exercise, the media will hear presentations from Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira and staff of the Parliament.
The media will also learn the dos and don’ts of covering parliamentary committees and debates from the Editor-in-Chief of Newsday, Judy Raymond. There will also be contemplation on a code of conduct for parliamentary reporters.
By: Tiffny Rhodius