The Guyanese government has denied claims made in another section of the media that President David Granger’s administration is denying state advertising to Stabroek News newspaper because it is unhappy with the paper’s content.
The Sunday Sun quoted chief executive officer of its parent One Caribbean Media, Dawn Thomas, as suggesting “that the government of Guyana could be attempting to silence the independent voice of the Stabroek newspaper by denying the paper any government advertising”.
In that edition, the paper also published an editorial claiming, “for more than three months, the Stabroek News has received virtually zero advertising from government agencies in sharp contrast to other newspapers”.
But Guyana’s director of public information, Imran Khan refuted the Sun editorial’s claim of zero advertising for more than three months as “wholly false”.
Khan told Barbados TODAY: “In the month of October 2019 Stabroek News received a total of 171 advertisements from 23 government ministries, departments and agencies.”
The Trinidad-based OCM group holds a financial stake in Stabroek News and owns the Nation Publishing Company, which includes the Sunday Sun title.
Director of communications in the Ministry of the Presidency, Mark Archer, also contacted Barbados TODAY with figures showing that from January 1st to September 19th, Stabroek News received 30 per cent of state advertising allocated to newspapers, second only to Kaieteur News on 37 per cent.
Kaieteur News is currently considered Guyana’s leading newspaper followed by Stabroek News.
The information supplied by the Guyana government claims that since June 1, 2015, to September 19, this year, Stabroek News received 26 per cent of all state newspaper advertising, again second only to Kaieteur News on 27 per cent.
The Granger administration came to office in May 2015.
Khan contended that on Sunday when the editorial was published, “a total of 23 government advertisements,
including full page advertisements appeared in Stabroek News”.
Government official Archer also supplied Barbados TODAY with copies of those ads as published in the paper.
The issue of Guyana government advertisements in Stabroek News apparently arose when that newspaper in May temporarily halted placement of government ads in its publication because the administration owed Guy$22,118,485 (US1 = Guy$210.45) in outstanding payment for advertisements placed. The newspaper demanded a payment of a substantial amount of the money owed before it resumes publication of government ads.
The newspaper has since claimed that after receipt of a satisfactory amount of the overdue payment it informed government of an intention to begin placing state ads again, but only a few were forthcoming.