Press body urges adherence to standards across all media

Adherence to standards is paramount for both the “new” and traditional media if they are to be taken seriously, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) says while declaring that it does not encourage any form of censorship.

In a statement on Saturday, the press body called on media houses and practitioners to adhere to the highest standards of journalism. This call applies to traditional media, radio, newspapers and television, as well as new media such as Internet broadcasting, websites and weblogs, the statement said.

“Particularly those who seek recognition as New media need to cease straddling their content with half-truths, lies, rumors and slander. The traditional media need to be fair, accurate and objective, for example giving voice to those with whom some owners may not agree and eschewing inundating its letter columns with phantom writers to support a cause”, the GPA declared.

The GPA did not identify any media outlet but the statement came after the furore created by a web log which carried false reports on two banks. The blog has since been pulled.

The GPA said that while the Association shall never condone restrictions on responsible and free expression in both traditional and new media; “the most important lesson for all media practitioners, soi-disant critics, columnists, analysts, commentators and Guyanese as a whole is that we must not open the proverbial Pandora’s Box to Censorship.”

The press body asserted that it shall not accept censorship, threats of censorship under any circumstances and will resist any such attempts. “That is why over the years we have been constant in our call for the release of the Electro-magnetic spectrum to allow for Independent and Private Radio stations and expansion of Television Stations, new and existing, cable and over the air”, it declared.

The Association added that it does not encourage any form of censorship but is simply requesting that the facts be reported fairly and accurately. “Let us be self-critical and self-regulatory in accordance with well-established journalistic rules and ethics, it said.

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