APOLOGY DEMANDED: President Jagdeo called upon to retract vultures and carrion crows statementROSEAU, Dominica, CMC â€“ The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has criticized Guyanaâ€™s President Bharrat Jagdeo over his decision to suspend the license of a privately owned television station even as the â€œcase relating to the station broadcasting a defamatory commentary is engaging the local courts.
The ACM, which groups journalists and media workers from across the English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking Caribbean, issued a statement following its 10th biennial conference that ended late on Wednesday.
The ACM also took offence at Jagdeoâ€™s de scri ption of Guyanese journalists as â€œvultures and carrion crowsâ€ noting that it regarded the statement as â€œinflammatory, designed to endanger the lives of media practitioners and their families.
â€œThe ACM cannot allow this to go on checked and as such we call on President Jagdeo to publicly apologize and retract his statements. We do not want to see a precedent set in the region of public officials, inciting hatred and violence against media houses and professionals, and being allowed to get away with it.â€
Jagdeo last weekend announced that the four month suspension of the privately owned television station would now begin on December 1, after the regional and general elections here on November 28.
But in its statement, ACM said that it regarded the initial directive to close down the station at the height of the election season â€œas a direct attack on press freedomâ€.
â€œThe subsequent announcement of the reversal of this directive, even at a political rally, is evidence of efforts to stifle free expression and to promulgate political interference in the work of the fourth estate.
â€œThe Association of Caribbean Media Workers is further calling for the complete withdrawal of the suspension against CNS TV Channel 6, which is now set to take effect in December, following the elections. The matter is in the hands of the court of law and a continuation of the directive to suspend the Channel could be seen as tantamount to muzzling.â€
â€œACM fully endorses the swift response of the Guyana Press Association which unmistakably assisted in forcing the postponement of the suspension. ACM will continue to monitor the situation in Guyana and stands ready to lend further support to the Guyana Press Association.â€