The Government is claiming that the 2017 World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is “deeply flawed”.This index, which puts Guyana three places down from the position it occupied last year, ranks Guyana at number 60 on this year’s Index; and according to its commentary on press freedom in the country: “Journalists are subjected to harassment that takes the form of prosecutions, suspensions and intimidation.”It has been outlined that although the Guyana Constitution guarantees free speech and the right to information, officials often use its defamation laws — which provide for fines and up to two years in jail — to silence opposition journalists. RSF also pointed out that members of the media regulatory authority are appointed directly by the President, and this restricts the freedom of certain media outlets, which are denied licences.Government has, in a statement issued on Friday, expressed concern over the circulation of what it considers a “deeply flawed and undated report” on Guyana’s ranking.Government’s statement has also noted that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who has portfolio responsibility for information, is unaware that the RSF has conducted any survey or inquiry into press freedom in Guyana, and questions whether its findings were based on credible sources.This current administration has said that the local media has greater latitude and freedom to operate without interference from Government intrusion, control or direction than what currently obtains.The administration has pointed to two recent cases of unjust suspension of state media employees which were robustly condemned by senior Government officials, and has said that both matters were addressed to the satisfaction of the affected employees.The statement was referring to the last year suspension of National Communications Network (NCN) Sport Editor Jocelle Archibald-Hawke and the removal of journalist Natasha Smith from anchoring duties because of her pregnancy.The Coalition Government has, moreover, said that it recently approved the appointment of an “independent and professional” Board of Directors for the NCN, and is currently reviewing the Board of Directors of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL) with a view to reconstituting that board as well.While President Granger has on many occasions declared his support for press freedom in the local fraternity, he has come under heavy criticism for holding only one press conference since his assumption to office almost two years ago. His last press conference was held back in October 2015.The Head of State had also defended this record back in January by stating that in the absence of a presidential press conference, the purpose of which is to meet with the Head of State to find out his thoughts on a variety of issues, he has been making himself available to local reporters on ‘The Public Interest’ programme. This is a pre-recorded “weekly” programme that lasts for only 30 minutes, during which questions are posed to the President by the moderator, someone out of the Presidential Media team. The last programme was recorded since April 6.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has called out President Granger for not facing the press. He has said the Head of State is hiding from criticism against his government.“I have a major issue about the President and his accountability to the nation,” Jagdeo, a former President himself, had stated back in January. “He hides behind these pre-packaged interviews,” the Opposition Leader said, while calling on the Guyanese press corps to boycott the programme.“He has not held press conferences because I think he doesn’t want to be accountable on several matters that were happening in his government. So he packages these things and he deals with safe subjects in a safe environment,” Jagdeo posited.
Monday’s meeting was the launch of a series of AARP-organized forums on California health care reform and the start of a statewide multimedia advertising blitz to publicize the issue announced by the influential senior advocacy group’s CEO, Bill Novelli. Novelli praised the governor’s decision to put health care at the top of his agenda. The system is “out of control,” he said, with more than 6 million Californians uninsured and those with coverage worrying about affording or keeping it. The Legislature, Novelli said, must “cross party lines and solve the problems … and make California the dynamite that breaks the national logjam.” Before a short written question-and-answer session, three women told their personal stories of health insurance problems. Among them was 27-year-old Kathryn Bowns of Altadena, who said she was refused coverage after graduation from UC Berkeley ended her student insurance. • Photo Gallery: Governor Touts Health Care Reform PASADENA – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a guarantee Monday that California’s “disastrous” health care system will be reformed this year and become a model for the nation. Speaking to an audience of about 200 AARP members at a town hall-style meeting at the Pasadena Convention Center, the governor said he was confident the Legislature could put aside partisan differences and agree on how to make health insurance mandatory and available to all. “I am very persistent,” Schwarzenegger said. “We can come together in a bipartisan or past-partisan way … bringing together the smartest and best ideas. I guarantee this year we will have comprehensive health care and become a model for the rest of the country and for Washington.” “I filled in applications for Kaiser and Blue Cross and was denied for a pre-existing \ condition, that I had seen a doctor in the last 10 years and had taken medication,” Bowns said, adding she got insurance after being wait-listed for state major-risk coverage. “I take two tiny little pills at bedtime, yet was considered too high risk to even consider insuring.” Schwarzenegger said everyone pays for the uninsured, calling it a $40.7 billion “hidden tax” that raises premiums and puts an intolerable burden on hospitals and emergency rooms, where the uninsured often go for routine treatment. “The way we stop it is by insuring everyone,” he said. Guaranteed universal coverage would “create a bigger risk pool” and would not jack up premiums, he said, since insurers would be required to allot only 15 percent of revenue for administrative costs and profit, leaving 85 percent for care. Among the governor’s proposals are raising Medi-Cal rates to encourage greater provider participation and reimbursement; allowing people to make pre-tax contributions to a personal healthcare savings account; and expanding access to public programs, such as Medi-Cal, to very low-income residents. Before the meeting, Mayor Bill Bogaard said health care was one of the major issues facing the state and the country. “I’m proud of Pasadena Public Health Department and the nonprofits, such as Young & Healthy, that provide such important service,” he said. “But we fall far short with the percentage of this community uninsured. It’s tragic and embarrassing.” [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4482 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
stalemate talkSPORT’s Super Computer believes Leeds will nab the automatic promotion spot in the Championship. GREAT NEWS Latest Championship news 11 Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship Last weekend highlighted just how crazy the Championship is.Title challengers Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion clashed at the Hawthorns with the hosts coming out 4-1 winners. We now have to take a two week break as international football returns, so talkSPORT.com’s famous Super Computer has been wheeled out to make it’s own predictions.But what does it say? Find out below… REPLY Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ 11 The Baggies have this season lost 4-1 to Derby County, while Leeds have been the Rams 4-1 – it’s going to be an incredibly competitive season.On top of that, we saw a rollercoaster 4-3 win for table-topping Norwich City over basement battlers Millwall where the lead changed three times, and Teemu Pukki also missed a penalty.It’s a truly wonderful division and we’re sure there are plenty more twists and turns at both ends of the table about to come – but how will it all finish? Bannan penalty helps Sheffield Wednesday strengthen grip on play-off place 11 It’s set to be a mid-table finish for Birmingham City Leeds lose at Fulham, West Brom held, Charlton’s winless run continues 11 Swansea City’s Martin Roberts celebrates scoring. 3. Middlesbrough (play-offs)2. Leeds United (automatic promotion) 11 Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring on loan at Aston Villa. It looks like relegation this season for Rotherham, according to our Super Computer Sheffield Wednesday star Liam Palmer 11 Hull defender MacDonald given all-clear after battle with bowel cancer goalless Millwall manager Neil Harris. 11 18. Wigan Athletic17. Preston North End 16. Sheffield Wednesday 15. Bristol City14. Brentford13. Birmingham City Teemu Pukki could fire Norwich City into the play-offs. 22. Hull City (relegated)21. Reading20. Bolton Wanderers19. Millwall 11 Will Frank Lampard get Derby County into the Premier League? ROUND-UP 9. Blackburn Rovers8. Swansea City 11 Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate a saved penalty in their 0-0 draw with rivals Sheffield United. 12. Stoke City11. Queens Park Rangers10. Aston Villa 11 EFL result 5. Sheffield United (play-offs)4. Norwich City (play-offs) 7. Nottingham Forest6. Derby County (play-offs) Cardiff and Preston play out stalemate in Championship early kick-off Make sure you tune in to the talkSPORT network when the Championship returns as we bring you more LIVE game on talkSPORT 2.24. Ipswich Town (relegated)23. Rotherham United (relegated) 11 How does the Super Computer believe things will work out in the Championship. 1. West Bromwich Albion (champions)