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…roasts Guyana Times, Chronicle over publicationsAs it published its first report on coverage of the 2015 elections campaign,Wholesale Adidas Hockey Jerseys, the Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has taken at least three print media houses to task over their reportage over the past month.The report, released last Tuesday, came just over a month before General and Regional Elections and noted the imbalances between the negative and positive coverage offered by various media houses in the lead up to May 11.The political entities covered in the recently released document are the government, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC).According to the report, a cursory sweep of the more serious infringements of the MCC committed by media houses over the duration of this reporting period showed that the violations included, but were not limited to the following: peddling of unsubstantiated information, misrepresentation/distortion of facts, and publication/airing of language that was inflammatory, racially divisive/inciting.In this vein, the MMU urged reporters to not allow the politics of the day to trump their professionalism.In the print media, citations were the order of the day for the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper for the publication of two editorials that were “blatantly inflammatory” and a letter that was deemed racially divisive. The Guyana Times, which has long been touted as a pro-government entity, also came under fire for an inflammatory article. The newspaper was also accused of a distortion of facts and the publication of a “racially divisive and distorted” article.The MMU based its criticisms on a self-regulatory Media Code of Conduct (MCC) that media houses earlier this year signed on to guide reporting of political, social, governance and electoral issues, in the run-up to and after the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections.Guyana ChronicleThe Guyana Chronicle, Guyana’s state-owned newspaper, came under criticism for its pro-government slant in its editorials and articles. The MMU stated that neither the government nor the PPP/C came in for any negative comments from Guyana Chronicle.On the other hand, APNU+AFC received a large dose of negative publicity by the newspaper’s editorial writers. The MMU made specific reference to the newspaper’s March 10 editorial captioned, “Make the right decisions on May 11”.The MMU took issue with the editorial department of the newspaper for the “general tone of the editorial, the unsubstantiated allegations made therein, and its unmistakably inflammatory nature.”“For starters, it did not miss our attention that in a somewhat devious ploy to justify what came after, the editorial started off by making specious and unsubstantiated allegations of a violent nature against the Opposition political parties, namely APNU and AFC,Wholesale Jerseys Cheap,” MMU stated in its report.The body went on to say that the writer then conjures up a dismal future for Guyana should the coalition accede to Government. It said, too, that the staff members of the MMU are of the collective opinion that the editorial measured by any journalism standard, much less the MCC, was politically extremist and  telegraphed a pernicious and sinister intent to create unnecessary fear, tension and insecurity in the country.“In every respect also, it was antithetical to good order, peace and stability – the pre-requisites for a smooth and trouble-free elections process,” the MMU said.The newspaper’s March 14,Cheap Jerseys From China, 2015 editorial captioned, “Participatory leadership” was also accused of being blatantly negative towards the opposition. The unit said it observed that the writer penned a discursive narrative touching on a number of issues.It noted that for the most part it was scathingly critical of the PNC and AFC on one hand and highly praiseworthy of former president, Dr. Cheddi Jagan and the PPP/C, on the other.Nothing, it said, is wrong with that. Commendably, the writer, in the latter paragraphs of the editorial, provided examples where the PPP/C and the Opposition political parties worked together in the best interest of the country.“However, inexplicably, it all fell apart in the final paragraph, where it was written, ‘The hardcore veterans whose charter includes utilization of all the Machiavellian strategies contained in the diabolical X-13 Plan are making the nation cry rivers of blood while the voice of reason has been silenced in the thunder of the canons that devastate the nation’s hope for a brighter future.’”The MMU said that it tried in vain to figure out the connecting thread between the preceding paragraphs in the editorial and the gist of the final one as quoted.“For us, the last paragraph represented a quantum shift by the writer, from keeping within the bounds of propriety to bizarrely nose-diving into the pits of the unsubstantiated and inflammatory,” the MMU said.The body also found the language used in the final paragraph disturbing. It is expressed in the present tense, giving the impression as it is, that the country is currently in some kind of dystopian state of internal upheaval spawned by bloodletting (“…the nation cry rivers of blood…”),  when, in fact, such a scenario is far removed from reality.“The Unit further noted that there was an uncanny similarity with the view expressed in the final paragraph of the editorial and the ‘Cry river of blood’ theme imbedded in the newspaper’s March 10, 2015 editorial.”It said that it gives one the ineluctable impression that the newspaper’s editorial writer(s) has/have a fiendish fascination, nay, obsession, with extolling narratives of societal mayhem and gore, unmindful of the potential negative consequences of such indelicate penmanship.“And in light of this observation,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, we asked ourselves the question: What does the management of the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper hope to gain by sanctioning the publication of editorial views/opinions intended to drive fear of a violent kind into the minds of citizens?”The Unit concluded that the editorial, or more specifically, the highlighted part thereof was spurious, unsubstantiated, and inflammatory, and should have been excised from the leader in keeping with Section B 2(C) and E (2) of the MCC, which separately forbid publication in the media of inflammatory language and unsubstantiated statements.The Guyana Chronicle also came under scrutiny for a letter published in the Friday, March 13, 2015 issue of the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper captioned: “In support of Mr. Jagdeo’s comments at Babu John” written by someone using the nom-de-plume of “Concerned Guyanese”.Analysing the contents of the letter, the MMU’s deconstruction of this artifice in letter-form, led us to the informed conclusion that the letter as published, was unsubstantiated, inflammatory, and racially divisive, and its publication in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper contravened Sections B (1), B 2 (C), and B (4) of the MCC.Guyana TimesObserving that the Guyana Times had offered mostly positive coverage to the PPP/C, the MMU said its attention was drawn to an article it published on March 6, last captioned “Granger pushes envelope on incitement.”It said that in the article, which featured on page 14, it is alleged that the leader of the Opposition Coalition told a large rally in Linden on March 14, 2015 that it was the PPP/C that had killed ex-soldier, Courtney Crum-Ewing.The MMU said that after carefully going through the article in its entirety, the Unit found three instances where Granger was directly quoted by the newspaper. The first and second quotes states “I feel hurt. I feel wounded… Courtney was the first to fall” and “He was killed because he had a bullhorn in his hand…was executing his constitutional rights and was silenced.”While the third quote read that Granger said he was deeply hurt over Crum-Ewing’s murder and pointed fingers directly at the governing party for the man’s execution as he told the persons gathered that he was convinced Crum-Ewing’s death was the result of the actions of the “rulers of darkness.”  [Emphasis MMU].“The Unit found in the above evidence that the reporter who wrote the article fallaciously construed the term “rulers of darkness” allegedly used by Mr. Granger to mean the PPP/C, because nowhere in the article is Mr. Granger quoted as saying in direct language that the PPP/C killed Courtney Crum-Ewing.“Based on all that has been outlined, the Unit’s conclusion is that the headline of the article was deliberately sensationalist, misleading and inflammatory. Further, it was obvious that in the accompanying story, Granger’s remarks were ingeniously distorted to fit the agenda of the article, which to all intents and purposes, was to deceive from the ‘get-go,’” the MMU said.The body added that the publication of this article violated Section I of the MCC, which states that, “The media acknowledge that the deliberate distortion of reality so as to lead the public to a particular understanding of events and issues, without regard for reality, can poison the processes of democracy and therefore should not be done.”Kaieteur NewsThe MMU took issue with the banner headline carried on the front page of the March 10, edition captioned “Rohee endorses Jagdeo statement that PPP is a ‘coolie people’ party.”The body said that at first glance, the headline conveys the impression that former president, Bharrat Jagdeo made a quotable statement that the PPP is a ‘coolie people’ party.It said this impression is further buttressed by the third paragraph of the article, which states that, “Jagdeo made this statement on Sunday when he spoke at the memorial service held in honour of former President and founder member of the PPP, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan at Babu Jaan, Corentyne, Berbice.”The Unit said that it is in possession of an unedited recording of the referenced speech, and despite playing and re-playing it on several occasions, it did not hear anywhere in his speech the comments attributed to him.“In light of our investigation of the reported statement attributed to Dr. Jagdeo by the newspaper, we found in the first place, that the headline as prominently displayed on the front page of the newspaper, was sensationalist, deliberately deceptive, and racially divisive.“The Unit also found that there was a glaring disconnect between the caption of the story and the supporting content, which suggests that it was the overriding intention of the newspaper to misrepresent and distort,” the body said.What the MMU found troubling too was the “obvious agenda of the headline,Wholesale China Jerseys, which to all intents and purposes was crafted and tailored to generate feelings of racial alienation, disgust, and ill-will amongst Guyanese towards the PPP, and to generally sow further ethnic discord in the society.”Notably, the MMU did not comment negatively on any content in Stabroek News over the period monitored.As part of its general observations,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, the body said that generally it’s monitoring of the media over the past month, revealed that adherence to the standards set forth in the MCC was, and might well remain in the foreseeable future, a herculean challenge for reporters, editors and publishers.“Still on the issue of news reporting, it was most disturbing to observe that opinionated news-reporting is now the new norm,” it said. The body reminded that according to the code of conduct “News and comment must be clearly identified to avoid confusion amongst readers, viewers and listeners.”“By highlighting this adjuration, the Unit hopes that from henceforth the stricture is complied with in letter and spirit by those responsible for news dissemination to the public, and that they do not allow the politics of the day to trump their professionalism,” the body said.It said, too, that in the in the interest of goodwill in this report period it did not go the full length of publicly identifying those media houses that were overtly guilty of engaging in the practice.It said, however, that if the habit continues unabated, the body will not hesitate in our next Report to name media houses and provide the evidence of their deviant behaviour.There were numerous other breaches of the MCC by media houses during this first month of our reporting.The 2015 MCC was signed-off by twenty-three media-related organizations in the country. GECOM’s Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) was fully endorsed as the sole entity to superintend the implementation of the Code.
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