GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 8, 2016 (CMC) – The Chief Executive Officer of the National Communications Network (NCN), Lennox Cornette, has been ordered to apologise to Natasha Smith, who was removed as news anchor, on account of her pregnancy.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo issued the order, following a meeting with Cornette and the company’s Human Resources Manager, Tishika Da Costa, as well as officials from the Ministry of Labour.
“It agonises me to get involved in what is an NCN management matter but, as a journalist and as a parent, I refuse to be silent on this occasion,” said Nagamootoo, whose portfolio includes the state media.
Nagamootoo’s decision came one day after Da Costa apologised to Smith after a protest by executive members of the Guyana Press Association (GPA).
“I have advised the CEO to tender an unqualified apology to Ms. Natasha Smith for using her pregnancy as reason to remove her, temporarily, as news anchor…..I am in no doubt that the removal of Ms. Smith was due to her state of pregnancy and that the act is an attack on her as a woman and as a professional journalist,” the PM said.
Media workers, Tuesday, demonstrated outside the main facilities of the state-owned NCN, demanding the state broadcaster reverse its decision regarding the removal of a television newscaster because of her pregnancy.
Nagamootoo added that the coalition government stands for “full equality of our women and their right to work or association must not be denied or in any way trampled by their free choice to be married or to remain single or to bear or not to bear children.”
Earlier, NCN denied removing the newscaster because of her pregnancy even as she insisted “I was told by a senior manager that it was decided that I will be relieved of reading the news”.
NCN said it is concerned about statements being made in the press and on-line news outlets in relation to the employment issue.