Three TVG Evening News/ Guyana Times reporters tendered their resignations yesterday after they were allegedly pressured by superiors to broadcast reports on the ongoing feud between Guyana Times owner Ranjsinghi (Bobby) Ramroop and Kaieteur News owner Glen Lall.
In a joint release sent subsequent to their resignations, Leana Bradshaw, Sabatini Daniels and Whitney Persaud said that their resignations follow “on the heels of their fight to uphold the journalistic principles and ethics that they’ve learned over the years in media and through the University of Guyana’s Centre for Communications Studies.”
Recently, Lall and Ramroop have resorted to the use of the media houses they own to target each other, and the TVG reporters are saying that their involvement in “the personal vendetta” between the two media establishments, “as is evident, is threatening their personal lives and characters.”
Contrary to the claims of the reporters though, TVG Evening News/Guyana Times Editor Nigel Williams says that Bradshaw resigned out of fear of being targeted by Lall, and that Daniels and Persaud also resigned “apparently in sympathy for their colleague’s fear.”
Williams in his release said that Bradshaw cited “fear for her safety in light of a series of explosive, investigative articles and reports carried by the newspaper and the Evening News about Kaieteur News owner and publisher Glenn Lall,” as the reason for resigning.
Williams also quotes TVG Evening News/Guyana Times General Manager Daniel Singh as saying, “It is indeed a sad day when journalists have to operate in fear of certain personalities because they dare to investigate them and make public their findings.”
Stabroek News has been reliably informed that the women did have concerns that a security issue could emerge out of the back and forth between the two news agencies, and even brought up the fact that the building which houses TVG Evening News/Guyana Times has insufficient security to handle such a development.
But, a source close to the women says that their primary concern was that the information which they were reporting would be interpreted by the public as their own, therefore projecting them as active contributors in the feud between the two media establishments.
“While those who write such articles are not in the spotlight or given credit for their writing, the anchor and reporters are forced to put their voices and images to the content of the stories they believe go against their professional values and credibility,” Daniels, Persaud, and Bradshaw said in their joint statement.
TVG Evening News/Guyana Times however, is adamant that the resignations are solely a result of their fear of being targeted. Williams says that on Sunday Bradshaw “met with an editor and explained that she had serious fear and reservations reading a story about Lall on television, as she believed she could be identified and targeted.”
As such, Williams says, the reporter demurred and, “without the knowledge and approval of the editor, proceeded to excise the story about Lall from the newscast for the Sunday Evening News.” So great was the reporter’s fear, Williams says, “that she told her editor that she was willing to voice the script once her face was not shown on television. This was confirmed by one of her colleagues who quit in sympathy. Bradshaw’s stance showed that she had no substantive problem with the script, but reacted out of fear.”
But, Stabroek News understands that Bradshaw never made such an offer to her editor. “Leana never said she would voice any stories on Glenn Lall, whether voicing or reading as anchor.
She just didn’t want to get caught in the back and forth issue between those two, none of us did,” says a source close to all three women.
The source also said that while Kaieteur News reporters are able contribute to the back and forth and have the luxury of anonymity, reporters in the television industry do not have this benefit.
The events which led to the tendering of the resignations reportedly played out during a meeting yesterday morning. Bradshaw was reportedly told by Singh that “once reporters are employed by the entity they must follow instructions given or “they can pack their traps and leave, the door is there.” Bradshaw, Daniels and Persaud, in their release, say that when the anchor further refused to comply, Singh indicated that the non-compliance amounted to the indirect tendering of her resignation.
“She thereby felt that it was her cue to leave, given that the company cannot compromise on such reasonable grounds. Her two colleagues then stood by her and for what they believed in as well, and also tendered their resignation letters, lest they be placed in the same position subsequently”, the source said.