It's the media's duty to expose problems
Stabroek News
March 26, 2002

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Dear Editor,

The Sunday Editorial enabled me to have a better perspective on some questions I had about the dissemination of news. Unfortunately, it also served as reinforcement for my earlier assertions that, the news media in Guyana are not fully afforded freedom of the press. It is very obvious that there is psychological intimidation placed on news reporters when releasing news to its consumers.

I found it irresponsible for Mr Jagdeo, a democratic leader, to blame the press for performing their duty. Equally disturbing but not surprising was the revelation that the Office of the President is selective with whom they provide news briefing. Shrugging off accountability is pervasive in our institutions and the President set a bad example by trying to use the media as scapegoats for perceived failures in the police force. The media is in no way at fault for reporting and questioning the actions of some rogue elements of the police force. In fact, Mr President, you should be appreciative that these problems are brought to the forefront where they can be addressed. That way, the people who report to you cannot use the excuse "lack of knowledge" as the Minister of Justice did with the prison fiasco.

Stop blaming others and see these things as learning opportunities, Mr Jagdeo. Let's all work as a team to resolve the issues and not be bogged down with pointing fingers.

Yours faithfully,

Berkeley Van Bowen

International Human Rights Watch