Freedom of information act To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
December 13, 2001

PRUDENCE will dictate that support for a freedom of information act should be axiomatic and there ought not to be any controversy.

Freedoms enjoyed under the present administration are diverse and all embracing. There is no doubt that conscious efforts designed to put into practice significant adherence to transparency are being pursued.

If, however, an independent survey/review is conducted on the operations of most private electronic media and some print publications, it should not be too amazing to conclude that certain entities are practicing pernicious bias policies. Legislative pending action thankfully will address these constant violations.

Meanwhile Michael Foley, a media correspondent for the IRISH TIMES had reason to remark on the implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights in which the European court of human rights is being called to pronounce in a delicate balance between individual rights, the rights of the state, the rights of freedom of expression and the right to privacy. This is quite illustrative and underlines the difficulties of adjudicating on matters of this nature.

Foley continues thus: "Writing in Freedom, the individual and the law, the English civil liberties lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says the decisions taken at strassborg are always cautious and conservative. The convention embodies basic rather than progressive standards, which are interpreted so that they may be applied in practice to countries far less economically, and socially advanced than the UK. The Court, for instance, did not rule in favour of journalists and broadcasters who challenged the Irish Government broadcasting ban in 1991, possibly the only case where it actually ruled in favour of censorship." Here again, quite instructive, and underscores that there is no hard and fast rule, when applied to "Human Rights."
David DeGroot.