Guyana: The Oslo Times concerned over the safety of its contributing journalist, Dennis Adonis 

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Dec 10, Oslo: The Oslo Time International News Network expresses deep concerns over the safety of Dennis Adonis a contributing journalist with the publication as he has reportedly been receiving threats for an investigative news article, titled ‘US believes Mexico’s drug cartel funding several gold mining operations in Guyana’, that had been published in The Oslo Times on 8 December.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of Dennis, as we have reasons to believe that he may not be safe in Guyana,” said Editor-in-Chief of the Oslo Times International News Network, Hatef Mokhtar on Thursday.

 Adonis had corresponded with The Oslo Times in regards to the threats he was receiving on Facebook by two people close to a Guyanese minister threatening to see to it that he is arrested if the story is not removed from The Oslo Times. “On Facebook, two of the Minister’s protégées message me and promised to have me arrested if the story is not removed. Another man also told a colleague of mine that I am messing with the wrong group of people, and if I don’t know that I can be killed for writing what is in the Oslo Times,” said Dennis in an email to The Oslo Times, he further added, “An attorney also told me this morning that the Guyana government would make a collective effort to have me imprisoned.”

He also stated that another friend of the Minister Robert Persaud subsequently aggregated two pieces of derogatory articles on him, and ultimately posted them to their Facebook wall, while lambasting the international writer for presumably making the Minister look bad.To strengthen their intimidation tactics, an online media outfit and a controversial radio station that is owned by the Minister, also carried a series of defamatory content on the Author, in an apparent effort to discredit his article, and his persona.

The article which was published in The Oslo Times as well as the Epoch Times states that Western Intelligence has suggested that the majority of mineral trading in Guyana is now controlled by at least two major foreign drug cartels, including Mexico’s Knights Templar cartel who are believed to be financing the mining operations of at least four major gold mining firms with strong connections to the Guyana government.

Just an hour after our correspondence with Adonis, the Oslo Times received a press statement from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Guyana, stating that the report has come at a time when the government has put provisions in place to strengthen the Mining sector in the country and that the Government of Guyana has zero tolerance for any illegality in the sector.

However, the problem here is far graver as threatening a journalist is against freedom of expression and against article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which clearly states, that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”  And, The Oslo Times Condemns any act that violates Article 19.

Threatening a journalist and demanding an apology instead of carrying out an investigation on the issue mentioned in the article by Adonis, just indicates that there is very little tolerance in regards to media freedom in Guyana, which has been listed as a partly free in the freedom index by freedom house. The safety of journalists in the country, therefore, is still a major concern.  “In fact the South American country is among some of the most unsafe jurisdictions for media workers in the Western Hemisphere”, informed Adonis.

 Just about a month ago, press freedom in Guyana had come under international scrutiny after Attorney General Anil Nandlall had threatened the safety of a senior journalist working for a local publication, Kaieteur News. Apparently the recorded phone call had identified Nandlall as the person suggesting that staff members of the daily Kaieteur News risked deadly reprisal if the paper continued its critical reporting.”In actuality, journalists and private media outfits who report anything that is contrary to Guyanese government policy are often subjected to harassment, arrests, and other forms of political intimidation,” said Adonis.

Meanwhile, Adonis has informed The Oslo Times that he has lodged a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation in the UK, The Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Union, and Mr. Ivan Šimonović, who is the current Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at UNESCO, and who is also tasked with investigating harassment claims made by international journalists.”The UN human rights body subsequently indicated that they will be investigating the matter”, said Adonis.

The Oslo Times

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