Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Washington-based Freedom House report titled Freedom of the Press 2009 was released on May 1. In the report it was stated that while journalists faced an increasingly grim working environment in 2008, with global press freedom declining for a seventh straight year and deterioration occurring for the first time in every region, according to Freedom House's annual media study Guyana has regained its status of free rating while Haiti has shown improvement.
According to the report Guyana regained its free rating, while Haiti and Uruguay saw significant improvement. However, Mexico's score dropped again because of increased violence, the government's unwillingness to make legal reforms, and pressure on media from local and state officials. Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nicaragua registered major declines.
In 2008, Guyana declined from Free to Partly Free, owing to a government decision to withdraw advertisements from the Stabroek News -- one of the countrys leading newspapers, apparently in response to critical reporting -- as well as an armed attack on several reporters from another major paper.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and media are generally allowed to operate without interference.
However, long-promised legislation to facilitate the distribution of private radio licenses has yet to be introduced, and a freedom of information bill is apparently unlikely to be passed into law. The Guyana government maintains a long-established radio monopoly and operates the countrys only two radio stations. There are also 23 television stations.
Freedom of the Press 2009 identifies the greatest threats to independent media in 195 countries and territories. Released in advance of World Press Freedom Day, the report shows a seventh straight year of decline in global media freedom, with twice as many losses than gains.