While recognizing the vital role media plays in fostering transparency and accountability in society and keeping citizens informed, private sector officials in Guyana say responsible reporting is critical to ensuring issues are not misrepresented in a way that ultimately damages the image of the country.
Chairman of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC), Edward Boyer, pointed out that not much can be said to privately owned media entities that conduct their operations in a way they see fit. Freedom of the press, he said, is extremely important and with it comes key responsibilities that speak to fairness, balance and ethics.
“We could just ask them to be conscious of the fact that you should speak in the national interest. You should make sure that the development of our country remains intact,” he stated, adding, “We should caution our media…to be more responsible and to make sure they don’t damage the country’s image.”
Mr. Boyer’s remarks come in wake of comments made by the country’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, while speaking at a seminar on Tuesday organized by the PSC. Commenting on media reports on matters related to the Production Sharing Agreement between Guyana and ExxonMobil, Mr. Gaskin said some of the information being put forward is “is selective and misleading.”
The Business Minister said criticism from the media is welcomed and expected but misrepresenting the facts and presenting same to the public does not help in the efforts to educate and accurately inform persons about the new oil and gas industry.
Meanwhile, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Deodat Indar, said “education and awareness is very important” and will play a key role in determining whether Guyana succeeds or fails as an oil producer.
“We should not discourage information in the oil and gas sector, but that information should be responsible, correct, relevant and timely too so that we can get everyone to know what is going on around them,” he said.