By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) A national organization aimed at protecting freedom of the press has flagged Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero for restricting the free press on Guam.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker flagged Guam following Friday’s press conference in which Governor Director of Communications Janela Carerra and Staff Assistant Carlo Branch muted questions from the media that dealt with the delay in funds going to struggling citizens and questions regarding her former Chief of Staff’s use of a presidential suite at the Pacific Star Hotel.
One of the tracking lists The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker maintains is a database of press restrictions and press access specifically related to the Corona Virus Crisis. Their updated database has Guam Governor Leon Guerrero now publicly luster as restricting press access to information.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker brings together more than two dozen press freedom groups to create a centralized repository on the number of press freedom violations in the United States. The data they gather helps inform advocacy, journalism, and legal action groups. Freedom of the Press Foundation, a press freedom advocacy organization, manages the day-to-day operations of the site. The Committee to Protect Journalists chairs an advisory board that includes the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, and Index on Censorship.
Guam is now on their radar because Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has publicly restricted the free press on our island.
“Journalists in the United States face hostility from local and federal governments, along with a number of legal threats to themselves and their sources,” the organization said. “When journalists are obstructed, so is the public’s right to be informed and hold power to account. The United States has some of the strongest legal free speech protections in the world, and serves as a beacon for press freedom in a world where journalists are routinely censored, attacked, or imprisoned for their work. But the U.S. record is imperfect, and journalists and advocates must tirelessly defend the First Amendment in courts, in legislatures, and in the media. Constant vigilance and an honest accounting of the country’s track record on press freedom are essential.”