Chronicle’s Editor took political directives (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyana Chronicle Board has now endorsed the decision by the Editor-in-Chief to stop the columns written by me and Lincoln Lewis. I am not surprised at the decision by some Board members. Not many people in high places in Guyana have the courage these days to stand up for principle, especially when it involves decisions sanctioned by the political overlords. Maybe some day those members would come to the realisation that principle is bigger that political expediency and other such considerations. My heart goes out to them.I have become known for both my strong support for the present Government and my criticism when I feel it has not acted properly. That kind of independence is not tolerated in our elite political culture which demands uncritical loyalty from supporters. As such, some Government leaders have privately and not so privately expressed discomfort and outrage at my criticisms. They have been particularly outraged that my critical comments are carried in the State-owned newspaper, which they view as a medium for only the views of Government members and supporters.I am aware that there has always been lots of pressure on the Editor from higher-up to stop the column and that feeble attempts in this direction have been made in the past. I suppose they have now decided to make a definitive move. I strongly believe that the Editor of the Chronicle would not make such a decision on his own – it is a political decision and he would have to get such directive from above. That much I am convinced of until evidence is produced to the contrary. I understand the situation that the Editor finds himself in and he has my sympathy. That is why I think those who gave him the directive should come out into the open and let the public know that they are the real authors of the move.I have no personal stake in this matter. Doing this column was not my bread and butter job, but it was part of my political activism – my giving back to my country in the form of public education and advocacy. I have no entitlement to a column in the Chronicle or any other newspaper. But I feel very strongly that a State-owned entity should not summarily deny me or any other citizen the right to express our views solely because of our partisan political views. That amounts to a clear human rights violation of a sacred civil liberty.There is no evidence that Lewis and I have exposed the newspaper to libel, have undermined the country’s sovereignty, have ridiculed anyone personally or brought the paper into disrepute. They say the columns are discontinued to facilitate the rebranding of the paper but have not shown how the columns will hinder this rebranding. The major rebranding that needs to happen at the Chronicle is the freeing up of the paper from the partisan control of the Government. The paper should stop being an uncritical propaganda sheet of the Government and become a normal newspaper that reflects the face and dignity of Guyana and the variety of political and other views that reside in our country.Yours truly,David Hindslast_img

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