Press freedom activists in the Caribbean have strongly condemned the intimidation of journalists in Guyana.
The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and the network IFEX-ALC, which promotes freedom of expression in the Caribbean and Latin America, said in a statement they stood in solidarity with named journalists Davina Bagot, Nazima Raghubir, Tamica Garnett and other media workers in Guyana in their quest to perform their duties freely. They called on the government to immediately set the tone for an end to acts that could encourage physical harm to media workers, and urge its supporters not to use intimidatory behaviour.
Guyana is a signatory to the Media Freedom Coalition which recognises that a strong democratic tradition requires a free and fair media.
The statement referred to harassment directed towards Kaieteur News reporter Davina Bagot at a press conference hosted by President Mohamed Irfaan Ali. She has since been subjected to cyberbullying and personal attacks from government supporters. The President of the Guyana Press Association, Nazima Raghubir, pictured, has also been the victim of cyberbullying and personal attacks in the state-owned newspaper. Ms. Raghubir is also the vice-president of the ACM.
But the statement also states there have been instances in which the opposition have engaged in hostilities towards state media workers. Recently, Guyana Chronicle’s Tamica Garnett was verbally abused by a senior member of People’s National Congress Reform whom she called for a comment. The ACM believes that there is no coincidence between the posture of senior political operatives, and content in the State-owned media and a Facebook profile that is believed to be controlled by an associate of the governing party.
The media organisations endorse steps that have been taken to report the two latest incidents to the police and the Constitutional Women and Gender Equality Commission.