Your editorial of October 3 on the closure of Channel 6 and the actions by the President against Mr Sharma sums up all aspects of this case, and I applaud your concise and incisive comments. To close down Channel 6 just before general elections is an act of provocation against all the opposition parties contesting the upcoming elections. As a matter of fact, one could even venture to say that this act of shutting down Mr Sharma by the PPP government, is a betrayal of the concept of free and fair elections which President Cheddi fought for with all his might. With this slap in the face of a true democracy, how can we feel that free and fair elections are the reality on the ground? With this closure of Channel 6, there can be no free and fair elections! Editor, the Indian ambassador hosted a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi last weekend, and he should be ashamed of himself for his silence on the Sharma issue, as should all the other foreign diplomats. The Indian ambassador should remember the words of the Mahatma: “It is, of course, easy enough for the Government to launch out prosecutions or to pass repressive ordinances against the press but these fail except very temporarily… freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego… there should be no legislative checks on the press save that of the mildest character… the real remedy [to a bad press] is healthy public opinion that will refuse to patronize poisonous press…”
Editor, this closure of Channel 6 does not, in any way, conform to the norms of a democratic country, and all those who fought for our freedoms are probablyturning over in their graves. Shame on this government and shame on all those who stand by and do nothing, especially those foreign diplomats who would never tolerate such a thing happening in their respective countries, unless it’s Cuba or China. We are headed straight for trouble.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)