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Nation robbed of understanding govt’s plans as media houses only allowed one question– GPA Head

President Irfaan Ali’s first media engagement in months was held on Wednesday, and media houses were limited to one question and a follow-up.

This one question, one follow-up arrangement, was criticised by the President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), Nazima Raghubir, who noted that the nation was robbed of understanding the government’s plans, programmes, and other critical issues facing Guyanese.

From the announcement of the President’s engagement, media houses were restricted to sending only one reporter and videographer/photographer.

“One media house, despite arriving early, was not allowed at the press conference, while three other media workers were turned away close to 10 am,” Raghubir said in a letter.

In fact, the GPA Head was berated by the President and Public Relations Consultant Kit Nascimento for challenging the one question and one follow-up rule.

“The fact that the media could not engage the president beyond Kit’s rule has robbed the President and the nation of understanding many of his government plans and programmes and critical issues facing everyday Guyanese,” Raghubir added.

She noted that the media are not just a group of people, as they are tasked with interacting and facing the public daily while shutting down the propaganda peddled by politicians.

“The fact remains that there is little engagement between the media and the government. Ministers talk to selected media houses, some do not answer their phones, and others host one-way social media and television programmes.

Imagine being asked to send questions to a WhatsApp number for a senior government official to respond to. This is what the media has been relegated to?”

The GPA Head added that Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who holds press engagements as the General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), often indicates that he cannot speak on certain issues because he does not sit at Cabinet.

“This, along with the insult meted out by Kit, adds to a series of insults within the past months, including the limitation to the wider press to certain assignments like Thursday’s sweating in of the Public Service Commission and the recent Secretary of State visit where two media houses were handpicked for questions,” Raghubir concluded.

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