Conclusion of World Press Freedom Day 2022 Observances

The National Conference and Symposium organized by the Department of Public Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister concluded on Wednesday evening with the final panel assembled among social media actors, interrogating the ‘rise of the citizen reporter and trends for 2022 and beyond’. Earlier panels examined the case for ‘partnerships in communication for development’ and issues surrounding ethics, and legal frameworks.

Partner stakeholders, local and regional delegates and resource experts participating in the two-day event, have roundly hailed the quality of engagement facilitated through its consultative format.   

Of note was the ground-breaking unveiling and activation of the virtual Guyana Media and Communication Academy, developed in partnership with the world’s largest online learning platform, COURSERA. The first of its kind Academy for the Caribbean region, promises to kick start the process for partnerships in communication for development, with the government taking a fresh lead in the areas of upskilling and knowledge advancement for the Guyanese media fraternity, through the Academy’s world-class programmes with participating universities.

The conference and symposium which saw key-note participation from the Minister of Home Affairs and Information of Barbados, Hon. Wilfred Abrahams, as well as the Press Secretary in the Office of the President of Suriname, Mr. Alven Roosveld received support from the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Guyana, several civil society and corporate bodies, and saw attendance of over four hundred media and communication operatives drawn from across the country, along with groups of CAPE Communication students from leading secondary and high schools.

For the past two years, the Government has taken steady, decisive measures to continue building its legacy of respect for the Press and the universal freedom to which it is entitled, with marked changes in access for the press over what obtained under the previous government, including frequent engagements and the reinstitution of the constitutional office of Commissioner of information. The 2022 Global press freedom index saw Guyana’s ranking improved by a whopping 17 points.

This year’s inaugural conference served to reinforce the unwavering positions of the PPP/C Administration in support of free environment for the Guyanese press, with the President Ali declaring in emphatic terms, that his administration could be judged on its record even as he committed to never supporting not embracing any surveillance or other clandestine measure against the press that could undermine its freedoms.

The Department of Public Affairs will be moving to consolidate the recommendations of the symposium into actionable outcomes in specific areas discussed, through furtherance of the engagement of the key actors across the local spectrum. Chief among the issues emerging as most urgent, is the need for streamlining of social media news and current affairs outlets within a workable framework in the Fourth Estate.

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