Journalists are good people, carrying out an invaluable service to the nation. Therefore, attacks on the media should not be tolerated. Such is the view of Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, as articulated last evening during the British High Commission’s observance of World Press Freedom Day 2019.
Nagamootoo acknowledged the many journalists around the world who died in the line of duty. He said that their services ought to be recognised.
The Prime Minister said, “When we hear of a fallen journalist we hear of a tragedy about someone who has died for the people…I am pleased to be associated today with this function as a colleague and to tell you that the work will not go in vein.”
He said that many need to get an appreciation for the sort of passion possessed by media workers “for the work they do, and they don’t do this work for themselves.”
Nagamootoo acknowledged that there are instances in Guyana when the role journalists play seemed to be taken for granted. He said, “There are times when we have altercation between journalists and politicians; it is inexcusable.”
The Prime Minister then went on to give three examples where politicians crossed the line. However, all three examples given were acts perpetuated by former President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Nagamootoo said, “Politicians refer to journalist as carrion crows and vultures and call them stupid. There is no place for that in civilized societies, no place for that in democracies and I am pleased when High Commissioner reported that Guyana has moved itself up the ladder of countries where the press is considered to be much less constrained.”
Prime Minister Nagamootoo then urged the media to always aim for the “prefect freedom.”
He then quoted from the poem, “Let my country awake” written by Rabindranath Tagore, “’Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth…Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake’.”
Nagamootoo said that all must help the media to arrive at the perfect state of freedom that coveted “heaven of freedom.”