Private sector seeking forum with media oninformation flow

Media representatives and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) could meet shortly to discuss ways in which they could work together to ensure more reliable public access to important information of a business and financial nature. 

Stabroek Business has learnt that the PSC is moving to create a permanent forum to facilitate that interaction following a recent informal discussion among representatives of the business community including the banking and insurance sectors and some media representatives.

This newspaper has seen a draft of a document  which it understands will shortly be circulated among  media houses and business and financial organizations in which the PSC has said that “more opportunities must be created for both formal and informal  interaction between the private sector, including the financial sector and the media.”

The document, which calls for “a mutual understanding” of the respective responsibilities of the media and the business and financial sectors surfaced in the wake of criticisms by PSC Chairman Captain Gerry Gouveia on an NCN television programme of media reporting on the ongoing CLICO issue.

Some media operatives haves been critical of Gouveia’s assertion  on the television programme that the media’s approach to reporting on the CLICO issue could result in diminished confidence in the country’s financial system. This newspaper, for example, has argued that part of the problem  associated with the CLICO issue results as much from what has been told to the media as what has not been told to the media about the issue.

And in a subsequent interview with Stabroek Business, Gouveia said that he accepted that the responsibility for placing reliable and accurate information in the public domain on business and financial issues was “a shared responsibility.”

The document, issued by the PSC calls for “the creation of a forum that will allow for periodic discourses between the business sector and the media  on matters of public interest,” as well as facilitating “off the record briefings on important local, regional and international business and financial issues.” The document states that “a strong media, business forum can set the paradigms for the dissemination of information to the media from the business sector by way of interviews, press briefings and press conferences.

In essence, what the PSC seeks is an initiative to which both business houses – including banks, insurance companies and entities in the conventional business sector – and  media     houses can ‘sign on’ and which would create a sustained relationship designed to ensure the free flow of information to the public through the media.”

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