US envoy challenges gov’t over censorship, intimidation of media

– AG says freedoms being abused, urges accountability

More can be done to protect and expand freedom of the press in Guyana, according to US Ambassador Brent Hardt, who on Friday said that government censorship of opposition views on state media is wrong and also called for fair distributing of state advertising.

“There is more that can be done to protect and expand freedom of the press and the free exchange of ideas and perspectives it makes possible,” the diplomat said at a cocktail reception at his residence to mark World Press Freedom day, which was observed yesterday. In the backdrop of a row between Guyana and the US regarding the US implementation of a democracy project in Guyana which government has objected to, Hardt and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall squared off, with the ambassador calling out government on the abuse of state media, awarding of broadcasting licences, the distribution of state advertising, direct intimidation of the press and freedom of information.

Nandlall, in response, said that government does not intervene in the content of privately owned and operated media houses. “There is absolutely no attempt by the administration, of which I am a part, to influence what those private media houses publish. None at all. There is no attempt to censor any journalist practicing his trade or professional pursuit in this country,” he said. Nandlall, also the Attorney-General said that while the US calls for press freedom, it took over a decade before the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera was given …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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