Dear Editor,

POST–2015 media practice can be characterised as the worst experience of journalism practice in Guyana, in which the hallowed necessity of ethics has been trampled on, as well as thrown out of the window.

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So many times have there been urgings that this absolute principle of reporting be upheld, since it has to do with, among other things, the rightness of the particular story and salient facts; the particular status/positions/roles of the personalities as they are related to the specific incidents; and the verification of statistics, which are key in any reported accounts that relate to socio-economic development , and other related issues that have to do with the performance of state enterprises etcetera.

Unfortunately, these are no longer seen as necessary sacred tenets, because the general media practice in Guyana today, have mostly become positions of vested interests, in which sensationalism and a deliberate policy of distortion of facts, and fake news for and on behalf of political interests, feed a programme of national mischief.

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For these entities, muckraking rather than searching for truth before publication has become the new watchword of journalism practice, designed to whip up reading hysteria for satisfying a certain I-told-you- so mental expectation, in such expectant minds. Not even research, it would appear, is done by reporters for a better grasp and understanding for their intended pieces. It was a most frank and honest observation made by the Elder Statesman and former Prime Minister, Hamilton Green, a while ago in your letter column.

But this is giving just a synopsis of the state of the media, which is mostly privately owned, that have adopted, deliberately partisan positions. There can be no intellectualism through such blinkered information coming from such narrow enclaves, except the creation of further ignorance and the grounds for fomentation of dangerous tensions. No readership is educated/informed by such cesspool reporting.

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Even some of the news sites have been guilty as part of this media penchant for gross violation of media professional practice, inclusive of national mischief, with slanted headlines, and stereotypes that are dangerous and disgusting by the day.

One such site, reporting on a most recent horrific crash that claimed two lives, in its initial report described one of the victims as an off-duty policeman doubling as a bodyguard for the other victim who died.

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Of course, it was not true, as the Guyana Police Force in a rather terse and unambiguous release, not only described the reported ‘bodyguard’ as a very senior officer who had been second-in-command of the key Special Branch division of the Force; but that on the day of the accident, he had ‘’performed’’ his official duties.

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This is a clear case of the ‘bodyguard’ stereotyping of policemen, who may be seen in the company of businessmen, as the other victim was. In fact, this news site is at times also guilty of slanting and misleading headlines to suit particular political scenarios that it reports.

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No media should dare to make such reports, without ensuring accuracy on the principals involved. It should not endeavour to be the first to report, no matter the bigness of the story, at the expense of correct details. Moreover, it must end stereotyping, since it is a dastardly and wicked brand of journalism, designed to cast aspersions on the personal character of the person(s) involved.
Regards,
Aditya Panda

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