Is the state media balanced? What the People Say about:
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
August 19, 2002

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This week we sought the opinions of the man/woman-in-the-street on the balance of the state mediaís reporting and programming. These were their views:

Richard Mohamed - pensioner: ĎThey are biased. You can see in some of the newspapers there are contradicting reports. They are not giving the truth. I think journalism should be improved, they need more educated people. Maybe they should hold seminars for them. The reports are not bad but to be truthful they are not balanced. They should make an effort to be more specific in their reporting and balanced. Whatever we read must be profitable, they tell you something at one point and then you look elsewhere and see something different elsewhere. You canít follow the newspaperís news that you have as it is now.í

Olive Archer - cook: ĎNo. Sometimes something happens and when you read the newspapers itís a vast difference. That 20-year-old that was beaten up, he had several ribs broken. The papers said one thing and he is claiming otherwise. There is a vast difference in the papers and what happens in actuality. When you meet these people itís something different. They put in what they want to put in and take out what they want to take out. The [Guyana] Chronicle (doesnít tell the truth). You might get a little truth out of the Kaieteur and Stabroek. Sometimes I listen to the news on the radio and they are not balanced at all. The only thing I watch is Sharma because the people are usually there and you can hear the truth for yourself. They should make an effort to tell people what is really going on in our country. Bharrat Jagdeo is sitting there like nothing is happening and everyday you open the papers and somebody is dead. They are blaming the situation crime situation on the `escapees,í but when you look itís only young people, who have no work to do. I canít blame them. Itís their [the mediaís] responsibility to show us the truth. Bad or Good. Tell us. We have to decide for ourselves.í

Jemlaee Gordon - student: ĎThey are not really balanced. What is going on now, itís too corrupt, the government, the racism. The Government is trying to influence people and giving them a different view of things. They should try to change. Itís clear that the government is involved in their editorial policy.í

Genevieve Gouveia - photo technician: ĎI believe they do a lot of cover-ups. They donít put in all of the details. Letís say for instance there is a shooting, they donít want the public to be afraid. They are politically motivated, but itís their right. If the PNC were in power the situation would be the same under them. They are state-owned. They belong to the state.í

Pauline Aaron - housekeeper: `No. I donít think they are balanced. The Chronicle and the radio are owned by the Government and they just give us what they [the government] want to give us. The Stabroek News would give us the truth about the story. They give you more while the government gives us what they want to give us. I hardly watch GTV, itís state TV and they should make a better effort to be balanced. They donít tell us about the bad of the country only what the government has done. They are only boosting the government. They are not showing the bad things the government are doing.í

Rica Alexis - private sector employee: ĎThey arenít balanced. In the Chronicle you have everything, but on GTV you see a lot of PPP stuff and very little, if any, of PNC programming. They should make an effort to change that, they should give everybody a fair chance, whether itís on the radio or on the TV. When you are in power you have to grasp all the opportunities, which is good for the government, they have an opportunity. But the bad part is where the opposition does not get a fair chance to voice their opinions. They donít get the opportunity to say exactly what happened or explain their side of the story. I donít see a problem with the stating controlling a part of the media, they are providing jobs. But they should be fair, a fair opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions. So that the whole truth can get out to the public. Not just part of it.í

Robby Robinson - student: ĎI believe they are balanced. Sometimes they can be one-sided, but I think they are doing a good job. For instance you read Stabroek and see the Chronicle and there is something different. Itís up to you to decide which one makes more sense. Sometimes there are contradictions and sometimes they are influenced by politics but that does not happen a lot of the time. There are television channels which are biased but GTV is balanced. Most of them are generally balanced.í

Randy Shepherd - public sector employee: ĎI think that the GTV has realised the political problem in the country, thatís why they are having more local talk shows and their programming is more focused on the family and society. They are trying to shy away from political issues. They are balanced. They will not do what, letís say Mr Woolford would do. They are more black and white in their reporting. Itís up to you to take a side and thatís the way it should be. They are not supposed to be taking sides. Itís how `youí interpret it. I buy Chronicle and people say itís a propaganda paper. And when you look at the letters and editorials you can see a bias. Maybe sometimes they take out a part of a story and sometimes its a typographical mistake and at others, its intentional. I believe they empathise with the government. The press is supposed to be critical. I am feeling robbed of my privileges because they are sustained by the taxpayersí money. They should most naturally make an effort to be more balanced. Bring it as it is, not how they [the government] see it.í

Joseph Niles - commercial artist: ĎThey are almost balanced. The GBC for instance should try to be more informative, but at the newspapers you get a good deal of information. I think that the newspapers would check the facts because they know the consequences. In some instances I think they are directed to print in a certain way, but I donít think that happens regularly. Whether the government is right or wrong, they present a one-sided argument. Maybe only during certain political times. It depends on the state of the country. At times they do make an effort, but it threatens their credibility.í