The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has described the late Mrs Janet Jagan, the first female President of Guyana, as an “indomitable fighter for press freedom and one of the longest-serving journalists in the country.”
The GPA in a press release on the passing of Mrs. Jagan said she will be remembered for her “indefatigable work in the preservation of Guyana’s oral, written and cultural history; a significant part of which was inextricably linked to her party’s role in the fight for Guyana’s independence, adult suffrage and women’s rights.”
The association said with the overwhelming majority of media workers being women, the passing of Mrs. Jagan offers the women of the media an opportunity to pause and reflect on the role that she had played in fighting across the political divide for equality of opportunity and the best available treatment of women.
According to the association as editor of the Mirror newspaper, Mrs. Jagan lived through those terrible years of State-repression of the privately-owned media characterized by restrictions on the importation of newsprint and the acquisition of a modern printing press.
“Until her death, she was the editor of the PPP’s official organ, Thunder, and a weekly columnist in the Mirror newspaper. The entire media fraternity expresses its deepest condolences to her family-members, the staff of these two publications; the executives, members and supporters of the PPP and the Government of Guyana,” the release said.
It said that Mrs Jagan often offered critical analyses and insights on “media issues some of which were not met with broad agreement but were nevertheless valuable perspectives in ongoing discourses and debates.”
And while she recognised the importance of party-unity and collective decision-making the GPA said on occasions Mrs. Jagan fearlessly let her position be known on media-related issues such as the then withdrawal of advertisements from the privately-owned Stabroek News in 2006.
“The GPA fervently believes that Mrs. Jagan will certainly be etched in local and international history as a role model, demonstrating to all political leaders, activists, advocates, non-governmental and governmental actors that political and advocacy journalism, particularly through the print medium, are priceless tools in the achievement of objectives,” the release said.