The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has condemned President Bharrat Jagdeo’s statements referring to journalists as “vultures and carrion crows”, declaring that the attack is “inflammatory” and “designed to endanger the lives of media practitioners and their families.”
President Jagdeo made the statements at a PPP rally last Sunday when he singled out Stabroek News, Kaieteur News, CNS Channel Six and Demerara Waves.
The ACM in a press release yesterday out of St. George’s, Grenada, issued a call to President Jagdeo “to publicly apologize and retract his statements.” And asserting that it cannot allow such attacks to go unchecked, the ACM maintained that it did not want to see a precedent set in the region where public officials incite hatred and violence against media houses and professionals and are allowed to get away with it.
Moreover, the ACM called for the complete withdrawal of the suspension against CNS TV Channel Six which is now set to take effect in December following the general and regional elections scheduled for November 28.
The ACM underscored its deep concern over “the decision by outgoing Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo to shut down the privately-owned television station CNS TV Channel Six,” and pointed out that the decision was made while the matter relating to the station’s broadcast of an allegedly defamatory commentary is engaging the local courts.
The ACM said that the initial directive to close the station at the height of the election season is a direct attack on press freedom.
It further contended that the subsequent announcement of the reversal of the directive at a political rally “is evidence of efforts to stifle free expression and to promulgate political interference in the work of the Fourth Estate.”
According to the ACM, the matter is in the hands of the court of law and a continuation of the directive to suspend Channel Six “could be seen as tantamount to muzzling.”
The ACM also expressed its full endorsement of “the swift response of the Guyana Press Association which unmistakably assisted in forcing the postponement of the suspension.”
ACM said it will continue to monitor the situation in Guyana while it stands ready to lend further support to the Guyana Press Association, the release added.