Press Association rebukes Jagdeo over ‘paid story’ remark

The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has condemned comments directed to the media by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, this time with regard to his suggestion that a journalist was paid to publish a story discrediting the qualifications of PPP Presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali.

“During a public meeting on Saturday 13th April, 2019 in New York, in response to a question about Ali’s qualifications, Jagdeo said that, `this whole thing about credibility and qualifications etc, it was started by one, newspapers, not a newspaper person, a person who was paid’”, the GPA recalled Jagdeo as saying, adding that his comments could only be directed at journalist, Julia Johnson, who first reported the story in January.

It added that the Opposition Leader had also singled Johnson out at one of his press conferences a few months ago, while responding to questions on the subject.

“Mr Jagdeo may be a stranger to balanced journalism, professionalism and truth but this certainly cannot account for what now seems like calculated recklessness…Mr Jagdeo continues his decades long attack on the free and independent press and media workers in this country and his masquerade as a champion for the free press must be seen for the farce it is,” the media body asserted.

GPA cautioned that it has already begun the process of alerting its regional and international counterparts to Jagdeo’s continued attacks and his sanctioned attacks on media professionals and journalism.

The GPA went on to reference attacks made by Jagdeo in the past, including with regard to his “sanction of the withdrawal of ads from Stabroek News and the  banning of journalist Gordon Moseley from Office of the President and State House.

The entity reiterated its intention to hold the Opposition Leader accountable if any harm were to befall any media professionals and furthermore, called on the diplomatic community and members of civil society to also condemn his attacks.

Last month, the GPA had condemned attacks on the media by Jagdeo and threatened to boycott his events and support editorial sanctions issued by media houses if his behaviour persisted.

It was highlighted that Jagdeo, during a recent press conference, in attempting to deflect a question raised by GPA President Nazima Raghubir, denounced it as being “stupid”.

It had been noted that that was just the latest in a history of similar attacks on media professionals documented over the past few months by the party leader. The GPA had added that the attacks are consistent with attacks he would have made as president from various political platforms.

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