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GPA tells Gov’t to level ‘state ads’ playing field 

Guyana Press Association (GPA) Nazima Raghubir

President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA) Nazima Raghubir has called on the Guyana Government to level the playing field in allocating state ads to media houses.

Speaking during the annual Media Brunch Sunday at State House, Raghubir revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed media houses to financial instability, which resulted in salary cuts and even welcomed resignations and retirement.

“In the context of grave financial impact of COVID-19 on media houses, especially radio and television stations, the Guyana Press Association calls for an even playing field in the allocation of state ads to accredited and recognised media houses- online, television, radio, and newspapers.”

She pointed out that media houses are not the same as social media commentators, given that we have different duties and ethics and provide a service unmatched.

“No administration must be seen to be funneling taxpayers’ dollars to media squatters who do nothing more than diminish the quality of media and, by extension, under-educated and under-inform the public to the long-term detriment of the holistic growth and development of the society” Raghubir said.

She added, “Guyana is a party to the Sustainable Development Goals, but none of them is achievable without a properly informed and educated nation.”

The GPA’s President said too that the advertising aspect on which most media houses depend on continues to shrink, threatening the existence of true and independent media in our growing democracy.

“In 2020, I pointed out that while solutions may lie in implementing better business models, we implore advertisers, state and private, to consider what a truly independent media can mean for this country.

“Due to the lingering adverse impact of the pandemic on revenues due to diminished advertising and sponsorship, the GPA also publicly endorses a request by Guyana United Broadcasters to the Guyana Broadcasting Authority.”

To this end, the GPA called on the President and key government ministers for more frequent engagement with the press.

“I want to use this time to call for the return of the post-cabinet press briefings which provided the country with that needed update on our internal affairs. We also want to encourage more frequent interaction with health officials, so we can raise awareness about the pandemic that continues to affect lives.”

The president in his response to the concerns raised by the GPA president, committed to engaging the press more frequently and also having a return of the Post Cabinet Briefings.