By Samuel SukhnandanWhile making a commitment to continue professionalising the local media corps, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) called on President David Granger to facilitate more frequent interactions with the press apart from informal gathering like the annual media brunch held at State House on Sunday.This call was made on Sunday by GPA Vice President Zoisa Fraser at the same event. She said in light of the theme for World Press Freedom Day 2018, “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”, the GPA would like to have more frequent interactions with the President.Media practitioners of Guyana Times/TVG with President David GrangerIn addition to this, the GPA also used the opportunity to request the assistance of the President to facilitate familiarisation trips for media practitioners to understand Guyana’s borders. Fraser said the Guyanese media needed to benefit increasingly from more exposure to issues about our borders.“In this regard, the Guyana Press Association seeks the support of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in facilitating greater understanding and appreciation of our border locations, especially the one to our west. We specifically ask that you use your esteemed office to have the Guyana Defence Force facilitate visits by groups of media personnel to that border area during this year,” she said.This, according to her, will undoubtedly aid in creating a better understanding by media practitioners and the wider Guyanese community who may never get an opportunity to visit the area.President David Granger addressing members of the media on SundayBesides that, the GPA said it would remain committed to initiating programmes of training for its members. Fraser said the organisation would also widen its mandate and training capacity in the coming years to ensure that a professional media corps became a permanent feature in Guyana. It also plans to expand training, especially on oil and gas in the coming years.In delivering his address at the media brunch on Sunday, the President said the annual event, which was held for the third consecutive year was an acknowledgement of the important role of the media in society and an expression of the Administration’s respect for professionalism of the press corps.“The media is an important profession and must be supported by the Administration, if nothing else to help it develop its professionalism. This government, no government, could work with a docile media. It needs vigilance, critical analysis and this is why I promised hard money…and will continue to support the education of members of the Guyanese media, especially those in the GPA,” he asserted.GPA Vice President Zoisa FraserThe Head of State stressed the need for a professional press corps, which should be able to deliver on professional standards and ethics, and social responsibility. While he acknowledged that every person has a bias, the President noted that this bias must sometimes be suppressed to allow for more objective, professional and responsible journalism to prevail.He also noted that the GPA must take on the responsibility of being able to discipline its members who step out of line. Making reference to other associations like the Bar Association and the Engineers’ Association, he said the GPA should have the authority to discipline its members.“There should be no need for the courts or Government intervention. A professional media corps must have the ability to discipline its own members when they go out of line or breach media ethics. That’s the responsibility of the corps itself. That is why we need a strong Guyana Press Association and that is why I continue to support the Guyana Press Association,” the President added.The annual media brunch held at State House on Sunday saw media practitioners from every media entity in the country taking part. The event was attended by several senior and junior Government Ministers, editors, broadcasters, journalists, videographers and photojournalists.