PNCR charges PPP/C with misusing state media
PPP/C says PNCR conveying false impression
Stabroek News
February 16, 2003

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The PNCR is dismayed at what it terms as the Soviet style abuse of the state-owned media by the ruling PPP/C party.

Speaking at the party's weekly press conference on Thursday, central executive member, Clarissa Riehl, said from time to time the party had commented on the exclusion of alternative ideas from broadcasts to the people of Region 10 which was being fed a diet of PPP/C propaganda from the state-owned media. She noted that the abuse of the channel had reached the extent that even the Regional Democratic Council was being denied time to make its public service announcements and to put forward its political views.

According to Riehl, the most disgusting manifestation of the tactics of recent vintage was the nature of coverage of the just concluded PNCR special congress by some sections of the media.

Describing the behaviour of the media as vulgar, Riehl said, "the most egregious was the circulation of a notice of a broadcast purporting to give an analysis of the PNCR post-congress rally, including the rally speech by the leader, when the offending stations made no attempt whatsoever to cover or to broadcast the event."

Riehl said that the spectacle of three PPP/C senior officials attempting to sell the public a point of view of a rally which the respective stations had refused to broadcast was not only demeaning and unprofessional, but demonstrated a lack of respect for the Guyanese audience. The party also took offence at the intensive coverage given to the government's presentation on inclusive governance by the state media, when there was no coverage or acknowledgement of the ideas of other parties and social groupings.

The party stated that the need for the state-owned stations to operate in a fair and professional way in their coverage of national events and national politics was an important issue.

However, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), said that the PNCR statement on the matter conveyed a false impression.

Giving an account of the state media's coverage of the PNCR congress, GINA stated that the Guyana Chronicle on February 1 published an editorial with the caption 'New PNCR leader faces uphill task on February 8,' and another editorial with headline, 'Great Expectations.'

Moreover, the release said, the Guyana Chronicle also carried a number of news stories with headlines such as those on February 1, 'PNCR Congress to discuss dialogue process,' and 'Congress expected to confirm Corbin as new PNCR Leader.' On February 2 there was, 'Corbin elected new PNCR Leader,' and 'President congratulates Corbin, invites him to meet.' On February 3, there was a report headed, 'PNCR open to constructive talks,' and on the same day, 'Corbin faces huge task ahead.' The February 7 edition carried the story, 'PNCR leader accepts president's invitation to meet.'

Additionally, on GTV on January 30, said GINA, there was a full news report on the upcoming congress based on a PNCR press conference.

On Friday, January 31, stated the release, there was a news story on congress; on February 1, a lead story on the congress and the result of the election, and a congratulatory message to PNCR Leader Robert Corbin from President Bharrat Jagdeo; and on February 3, a news report on the rally held on February 1 at the Square of the Revolution.

The statement said that on the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation on January 31, a news item was presented 'Preparations are well on the way for the PNCR congress. On the following day, there was, 'Robert Corbin is the new leader of the PNCR'; 'President extends congratulations to Robert Corbin and PNC Congress...'

GINA said that on February 2, GBC again aired, 'Newly elected leader of the PNCR has an arduous task ahead - congress;' and on February 6, 'Corbin visits Annandale.' The release added that GBC's stories were repeated on two subsequent newscasts.

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