LDS says drop in Seychelles’ ranking on press freedom index is “unfair and unjustifiable” |04 May 2023
Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) has deplored the ranking given to Seychelles by the Reporters Without Borders (RWB) in its 2022 annual index on press freedom.
Seychelles has plummeted to 34th place from the 13th position in a single year.
“LDS believes the ranking is unfair and unjustifiable,” says the party in a communiqué.
“During the last year no journalists have been killed in the line of duty in thecountry; none have been sentenced to jail or fined by the Court; no media houseshave been forced out of business by the government; while all branches ofgovernment have maintained an open-door policy to the media,” the communique notes.
The communiqué further remarks that as part of its plan for greater access to information the Ccabinet has mandated thevice-president to give a weekly press conference on the cabinet decisions; theNational Assembly is broadcast live on radio and television; court reporting hassignificantly increased; while all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have asocial media presence that gives the general public a direct forum for feedbacks.
“It should be noted that since the change of administration in October 2020, allpillars of our democracy are under greater scrutiny especially by members of thepublic who now feel free to exercise their freedom of expression in questioningthem,” says the communiqué.
“This is by itself a very good indication of the vibrancy of freedom of expression,which the media is also enjoying and which LDS fully endorses,” adds the communiqué.
LDS has noted two points made by the organisation in its assessment. One is a fineimposed on a journalist in 2020 and the other is the exclusion of certain journalistsfrom the Presidential press conference.
“LDS believes that these points do notjustify the sharp descent,” says the communiqué.
RWB annually sends an online questionnaire to media practitioners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other interested parties to fill in.
It will be recalled that since last year journalists have been calling for more respectand an end to insults and threats against them which culminated in a small protestby a dozen media practitioners at Esplanade last November.
While the media admitted that the attacks were mostly on social media, it is thegovernment and the country which is now facing the wrath of their assessment.
LDS is calling on all media practitioners to be fair and impartial in their daily workas any personal agenda will influence the way they treat a news item.
On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, the party reiterates itscommitment to build a strong democracy and recognises the media’s central role inthis achievement.
“The freedom and justice our party has fought for since the early 1990s depends ona free media to shape the Seychellois public opinion and speak the truth for all oursociety,” says the LDS communiqué.
LDS is urging all concerned parties to focus on building a better Seychelles, one‘pour tou son zanfan’ where we can be all proud to be Seychellois which includeshaving an exemplary press freedom index.