GUYANA HISTORY NOTEBOOK
Compiled by Odeen Ishmael

(Thunder, 20 August 1960)

Editorial:

MALICIOUS MISINFORMATION

The press is becoming more and more blatantly mendacious with respect to the activities, the outlook, and the intentions of the Majority Party, Through letters to the editor, editorials, and slanted news reports the Majority Party and the Government of which it is a part are viciously attacked. Only now and then does an article slip through giving unqualified credit for good works. And for the most part atrocities against the PPP are given pride of place.
One of the latest and choice bits of fabrication was broadcast by the British Guiana Broadcasting Service last week stating that plans were underway to begin a large scale immigration of people from the Indian state of Kerala to colonise the Rupununi district.
The news was compiled by the representative of the Guiana Times News Service, and it was a whopper, easily disproved by the Minister of Natural Resources. But it is just one of the many slanders perpetrated against the Majority Party. The Minister immediately issued a statement saying that there was no truth whatsoever in this report. The question of immigration from India has never been considered.
The report that an Indian official was coming to examine secondary school staffing problems was also untrue. Hon. B.H. Benn termed these reports "a mischievous fabrication" and called upon the Guiana Times News Service to substantiate its report. There could of course be no substantiation of these reports, since they came out of thin air, out of a mind with a vivid imagination, and a flare for the extraordinary and the bizarre.
In itself this little bit of fabrication would be unimportant, and would go along to keep the company of those others continually being coined. But it so happens that this choice bit of malicious news mongering sought further to add fuel to the flames of racial distrust and suspicion and to lay at the door of the Majority Party the charge of racialism ? with overtones of communism, crudely worked in. A million immigrants from India, and not from just any part of India; it had to be Kerala, the Indian state with a substantial Communist vote. Such utter nonsense.
We do not wish to see the press and news gathering agencies muzzled, as has been alleged by some. But there is no reason why they should claim the right to disseminate downright falsehoods. When people tune in their radios to hear the news or scan their newspapers they expect to get authentic information. Anyone may interpret or give his commentary on the news according to his own point of view. This is expected. Errors can be made which can also be corrected. But when twisting and fabrication is disseminated as news it is downright criminal ? when large numbers of people are at the mercy of such "news".
The example referred to is but one indication, among many, of how the enemies of the PPP work to undermine its influence. Thoughtful Guianese therefore need to be more circumspect when assessing the news from sources controlled and abetted by big business.

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