Guyana has successfully moved up 17 places in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index to 34 from among 180 countries. The nation was ranked 51st in 2021.
The statistic was revealed by the 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday.
The 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries, highlighting the disastrous effects of news and information chaos – the effects of a globalised and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.
Working with a committee of seven experts from the academic and media sectors, RSF developed a new methodology to compile the 20th World Press Freedom Index.
The new methodology defines press freedom as “the effective possibility for journalists, as individuals and as groups, to select, produce and disseminate news and information in the public interest, independently from political, economic, legal and social interference, and without threats to their physical and mental safety.”
In order to reflect press freedom’s complexity, five new indicators are now used to compile the Index: the political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and security.
Guyana’s elevation on the press freedom index comes as the country joins the rest of the world in observance of Press Freedom Day. This year’s team is “Journalism under Digital Siege.”
Locally, the government celebrated the day with the launch of a two-day National Media Conference and Symposium, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
Addressing the opening on Tuesday, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said his administration believes in the freedom of the press, emphasising that the PPP/C Government has always been the most accessible to the media and that this approach will continue.
“There has never been anytime I am called upon, anywhere and not make myself available, not only to the media, but to the people of this country because there is where I belong, there is where I feel comfortable, I would not run away from that,” Dr. Ali asserted.
The Guyanese leader said however, that freedom of the press is not without responsibility and must be practiced within the rule of law.
“This government that I lead and this President that sits here, have been the most accessible government; unprecedented in the media anytime in the history and that will continue that way.”
“What constitutes laws and the construct of constitutional frame in some other societies that are not democratic has limitations that are not necessarily part of the collective goal of freedom,” the Head of State added.
He also assured media practitioners that the government has no intention of utilising modern technology such as spyware to monitor their activities or that of citizens.