“I believe in the full freedom of the press’’ -President Ali

Reaffirms Govt accessibility at World Press Freedom Day 

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali today reaffirmed his belief in the full freedom of the press during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the World Press Freedom Day 2022 National Conference and Symposium, held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

He also made it clear that he is open to constructive criticism and is very accessible to the media.

“…I would reposition this message that this Government that I lead, and this President that sits here has been the most accessible Government; unprecedented in the media anytime in the history and that will continue that way.”

Freedom of the press, he explained, is not without responsibility and must be practiced within the confines of rules, laws and the constitution that exists in democratic societies.

“What constitutes laws and construct of constitutional frame in some other societies that are not democratic has limitations that are not necessarily part of the collective goal of freedom.”

The President expressed the hope that the participants in the two-day symposium will “spend some time understanding, fundamentally, these concepts and how they’re changing”.

He pointed to the importance of adhering to the basic principles of journalism, including fairness, responsibility, objectivity, balance, knowledge and understanding, truthfulness, accuracy, respecting the rule of law and impartiality. 


The President also underscored the need for shedding preconceived notions and biases when crafting and relaying messages. He used the pandemic as an example of how information flow can create severe hardship on a fundamental matter like public health.

“What is information versus sensationalisation? What is news versus marketing?… What is speed versus responsibility?” 


President Ali said that another important aspect the conversations should address is good governance; this he said is not only applicable to the executive of a country.

Good governance, he noted, can only occur when institutions and systems in the country, whether at the very local level, the regional level, the private sector level, institutions, organisations, all agree to conduct themselves within a framework that promotes good governance- which includes accountability and fairness.

He also acknowledged the Government’s responsibility in protecting the media and the importance of partnerships, particularly since the state needs the media to disseminate information.

“The Government in a democracy must be able to protect those who operate with the objectivity, impartiality, and the responsibility and decency in which they carry out their trade. The Government has to ensure that they (media workers) are protected and ensure that they are able to practice their profession, that they are respected even when the views are different.”


President Ali said too that it was “absolutely necessary” to have information sharing, which is in turn linked with education and educating journalists about the development path of the country.

The President said he was also pleased to see “young faces” at the event since it is this younger generation who will be tasked with manoeuvring through a rapidly changing environment and promised them that Government would ensure that they are able to practice their craft with impartiality.

“…My hope is for us to begin a movement in which every citizen understands the true nature of freedom, the importance of freedom within the construct of a democratic society.”

Scores of media representatives, members of the Diplomatic Community and Government officials were also at the opening of the two-day event hosted by the Department of Public Affairs under the theme, ‘Journalism under Surveillance- Partnerships in Communication for Development –C4D’.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Public Affairs, the Honourable Kwame McCoy and the UN Resident Coordinator in Guyana Yesim Oruc also delivered remarks.

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