Guyana | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Guyana

Guyana

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

27

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

9

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and media are generally allowed to operate without interference. Legislation to facilitate the distribution of private radio licenses has been promised but has not yet been introduced. A high court judge has been asked to rule on the constitutionality of the block on granting private radio licenses but has yet to hand down his ruling. Private media outlets experience great difficulty in persuading government officials to comment on issues. Interviews are not granted, and instead answers to queries are given in the form of press releases from the Government Information Agency. There is no Freedom of Information Act.

In January, the government claimed that the CNS Channel 6 television station's persistent criticism of government flood relief efforts would encourage public disorder and suspended its broadcasting license for one month. The station briefly resumed broadcasting in defiance of the ban, and the next day the police seized its transmitting equipment. The suspension was upheld by the courts. The owner of CNS, Chandra Narine Sharma, is also the leader of a small opposition political party, Justice for All. In August, following a series of assaults on journalists and the firing of shots at a vehicle transporting media workers, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers called on the government to do more to protect journalists from acts of violence by people implicated in their reports.

The government maintains a long-established radio monopoly and operates the country's only 2 radio stations. There are 23 television stations, 6 national newspapers (including the government-owned daily, the Chronicle), and 6 periodicals, all of which are generally allowed to operate freely. There are 145,000 internet users in Guyana, and the government does not place any restrictions on their access.