Georgetown, Guyana – (November 9, 2019) The Ministry of the Presidency condemns as patently false and malicious, the statement issued by the Guyana Press Association (GPA) today, where it deliberately misconstrued statements made by President David Granger, during his live interview with Kaieteur Radio on Friday, November 1, 2019.
During the interview, Senior Journalist, Mr. Leonard Gildarie asked the Head of State about his position regarding the withholding of Government advertisements.
President Granger said Government advertisements should be directed to media houses that are willing to provide fair coverage on public events.
Below is a verbatim transcript of that segment of the interview:
Leonard Gildarie: Where do you stand on the withholding of ads from the newspaper?
President Granger: There must be fairness. We believe that the advertisements should be directed to the media houses based on their willingness to disseminate news fairly.
…We need to have media houses which are fair and balanced. I do not believe that it is the right of any editor or any media house to … deliberately not report on public events out of bias…
But coming back to your question, I do not support the withholding of advertisements… Papers must be guaranteed, well, media houses, because now we’re not only dealing with the four urban based newspapers… they must all be given fair access to the advertisements of the State. It is a State resource. It is not a private resource.”
President Granger’s statements during the interview, reflect his long-held position on the importance of professional journalism.
The President, during his numerous interactions with media practitioners, over the years, has always said that journalism, like any other profession, must be based on a sense of social responsibility and ethics.
The GPA’s statement, therefore, that the “The gist of the President’s remarks appears to be that allocation of paid state advertisement is contingent upon favourable coverage of his administration” is absurd.
At no time during the interview did President Granger say or imply that he was seeking favourable media coverage of his administration.
The President said only that media coverage must be “fair and balanced”, both hallmarks of ethical journalism.
It is, therefore, malicious for the GPA to replace the word “fair” with “favourable” in its statement and attribute same to the Head of State.
The definition of ‘fair’ is unambiguous, impartial, honest, free from self-interest, prejudice or favouritism.
President Granger stands by his call for fair coverage.
The Ministry, therefore, is calling for an immediate retraction and apology.