Media Conference in Guyana

Stabroek News
April 28, 2000

The Third Annual Caribbean Media Conference opens in Guyana at the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel next Friday. The choice of Guyana as a venue is a recognition of the fact that the media in Guyana are once more a part of the free press in the region, a revolutionary change from those days, not so long ago, when the state had a monopoly of the media, the standards of professional journalism had been destroyed, and the State owned media here were a pariah in the region, operating as they did like the propaganda arm of the party in power. Whatever the problems we now face, and there are several, that is no longer the case.

Our regional colleagues have, of course, over the years had their own problems with their governments and in recent times it has been a pleasure to offer them our support on more than one occasion. Apart from anything else the regional connection is important as it provides a useful support mechanism when the heat is on in one country or another. But much more than that, it puts us in touch with our colleagues in the region and helps us to build that spirit of Caricom solidarity that is at present sadly lacking in so many spheres.

The conference provides the opportunity for local media people to meet their colleagues from the region. It also raises for discussion some extremely topical issues such as "The future of Caricom" on which Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados will speak, "The press in ethnically sensitive societies" , on which Mr Gilbert Ahnee the editor of Le Mauricien, a newspaper in Mauritius, will speak and "Issues that should guide the drafting of broadcasting legislation" on which Ms Elizabeth Smith, the executive secretary of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association will speak. Modern broadcasting legislation is to be prepared by the government and submitted for discussion to the media and other interests and as Minister of Information Moses Nagamootoo will himself be a panellist on this topic the opportunity will no doubt be taken to ventilate various issues and give some idea of the government's current thinking.

The conference will be opened by President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday, 5th May at 9.00 a.m. and registration of local delegates is already underway at Le Bureau Business Centre at the hotel. Invitations have been sent to all local media houses and advertising agencies and the orgainising committee is hoping for an interesting and useful conference. Other non-media organisations are being permitted to attend on payment of the registration fee which covers all the sessions, lunches and tea breaks including the last day, Sunday 7th May, at the Emerald Tower resort where the last two sessions will be held.