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…journalists decry move as means to muzzle press  The Guyana Press Association (GPA) yesterday stated that it views with alarm, the draft Professional Services Bill being pushed by the CARICOM Secretariat for introduction within the CARICOM states.The proposed legislation seeks to regulate and licence several professions across the region, including that of journalism.While the draft legislation is being circulated, it does not include a final list of professionals, Deputy Programme Manager for Services at the CARICOM Secretariat,Jerseys NFL China, Timothy Odle, recently announced at a workshop on the Caricom Single Market and Economy that the registering and licencing of journalists would commence within three years.As set out in the draft Bill, the Government will appoint a Council for each profession. The councils would be tasked with the licencing and regulation of the said professions. Additionally,China Jerseys Cheap, the Councils will fall under the ambit of the subject ministers who will have the power to direct them as they see fit “in the public interest because of exceptional circumstances.”The GPA noted that it “finds this a most tenuous position at the least, and nothing more than another attempt by the authorities to muzzle the media across the region. We believe it is a retrograde step towards the tumultuous politics of Latin America instead of progression in our fledgling democracies.”According to the press association, “This is particularly so because,Sale NFL Jerseys, unlike other professions,Brian Poole Falcons Jersey, Journalism is inextricably linked to the constitutionally enshrined right of Freedom of Expression and in some jurisdictions, Freedom of the Media. Simply put, other professions by virtue of qualifications and experience are privileges enjoyed while journalists exercise the fundamental right to freedom of expression.”In is in that context, the GPA categorically stated that it will oppose every effort to bring the media under government control as enshrined in the draft bill.If approved,Cheap Jerseys, it will empower governments to decide which journalists ought to be granted the right to practise, and punish those who seek to expose the truth or are critical of government policies,Cheap Stitched Jerseys, the press association said.Further, the Association echoed the sentiments of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers in stating that there will be no negotiation on this matter and is urging the Secretariat to have the media struck of the list of professions to be licensed in the Bill.It stated that the Association recognises the need for greater regulation in the local media sphere and staunchly believes that self regulation is the way to go, pointing out that efforts are already underway in that regard and it is the intention of the new executive of the GPA to see it through in order to bring to the Guyanese public a media corps better equipped to defend their interests and fulfil our mandate as the people’s guardian of democracy.
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