GUYANA The Government of President Bharrat Jagdeo has stepped up pressure on the private media. Several state-owned agencies have suspended the placement of advertisements in the privately owned Stabroek newspaper. In February, a delegation from the Caribbean media met in St. Vincent with President Jagdeo, who promised to review the situation. Direct government advertising to Stabroek News, normally channelled through the Guyana Information Agency (GINA), began to dry up during the campaign for the country's general election last November when President Jagdeo lambasted the paper for criticizing his administration and accused it of fostering the development of a new political party. The situation worsened in January when the state-owned electricity supplier, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) joined ministries and agencies in cutting off ads. Jamaica's MAJ termed the developments in Guyana "unfortunate", and IAPA told President Jagdeo in a letter that the action by his government was an attack on the freedom of thought enshrined in the Inter-American Declaration of Human Rights. "We herewith urge you to abandon and correct the attitude of confrontation and punishment, which is contrary to the full existence of free speech and press freedom in your country," said IAPA in its letter to Jagdeo, who signed the Declaration of Chapultepec years ago. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA The political directorate lost its stranglehold on the media in 2001; but the reality is that the integrity of the media is under siege. In the absence of a media code of ethics to which all media houses adhere, some segments of the media – particularly the radio stations – have been hijacked by the political parties and their agents. At one radio station, a parliamentarian has offered to pay $16,000 per month to have a certain veteran journalist added to the staff. The split would be $10,000 for the journalist and $6,000 for the station. Another powerbroker – a business magnate with political clout – has threatened to pull his advertising from the station, if a journalist with whom he has locked horns in the recent times is allowed to sit at the console. BARBADOS There is general freedom of the press in Barbados. JAMAICA Journalists in Jamaica practice their profession free from political, religious or state-sponsored harassment or persecution. Notwithstanding, a row erupted last year between the media fraternity and the leadership of the Jamaica parliament over attempts to restrict the movement of journalists within the legislature, following the publication by the Jamaica Observer newspaper of the Prime Minister doodling. Subsequent discussions between Parliament leaders and media managers/journalists resulted in an easing of restrictions. Practitioners are currently agitating through the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) for a review of existing libel laws that restrict reporting on public and private entities/individuals in the public interests. The government must be commended for enacting a few years ago an Access to Information (ATI) law, that has been facilitating the media in gathering information from government departments and agencies. The media, however, need to make more use of the ATI law.