The power of the media comes with great responsibility

Stabroek News

December 4, 2003

Related Links: Letters on 'Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana' death
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Dear editor,

I wish to make an observation relative to the letter from Joy Johnson captioned "The danger of this kind of book" [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] including her reference to the 1994 genocidal attacks on the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda and M. Hackett's letter captioned "Stereotyping based on one conversation" [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] . Both writers provided honest and impartial comments on Dr. Gibson's book.

As reported in the media, three men who owned and controlled a newspaper and a radio station in Rwanda were recently convicted and sentenced to life in an international court. These men via the media were responsible for mobilizing the Hutu hatred against the Tutsi, who were massacred by the hundreds of thousand.

The court in its findings said, " the power of the media to create and destroy human value comes with great responsibility. Those who control the media are accountable for its consequences". And to quote the lead prosecutor "the court said there is a wide range for free expression, but when you pour gasoline on the flames, that's when you cross the line into unprotected expression".

Are the talk show hosts, the lunatic fringe racists and their supporting cast using Dr. Gibson's book to take Guyana down this fiery road. Is Dr. Gibson's book, The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana, intended to be the spark?

The judges in the Rwanda case found that the newspaper and radio station branded all Tutsis as the enemy. "What they did was to spread petrol through the country little by little, so that one day it would be able to set fire to the whole country."

Is there a parallel here?

Yours faithfully,

R. Soobrian