The "Dirty War" reveals the dirt
January 24, 2004
How interesting it is to sit back and observe the intriguing battle for second place, as it relates to who is the less sensational, between the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News. Interestingly enough, in the Tuesday, January 20, 2004 edition of the Kaieteur News (Page 3), some telling facts were raised about credibility, the acquisition of information, sharing of information and the big one. Confidentiality.
A number of points were raised in the above-mentioned article, that give rise to questions about the code of ethics (if any) observed, and motive behind how some media houses ply their trade. As the demand for information is obviously on the increase and the media recognition of this fact, based on what was revealed in this Kaieteur piece, there is clear evidence that information is manipulated, then disseminated.
Permit me to deal with the issue of confidentiality. The mere fact that a shooting occurred and information was given to the Police in confidentiality by the victim, only to see a report, inclusive of names, appear in the next day's newspapers, vindicates recent explanations given by the Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj. It is incidents like these that dissuade persons from giving information directly to the Police and might choose to directly provide same to a public official. In the case of crime or criminal activity, the subject public is more likely to be, more than anyone else, the Minister of Home Affairs. Whoever holds that portfolio.
The Police too have been accused, especially in the media, of being easily corrupted. There is a new trend of corrupting policemen, and that is by some media operatives who pay police ranks for information they could not otherwise procure.
Even as adversaries and competitors "Kaieteur News shared its information with them", says the Kaieteur article, referring to the Axel Williams telephone records shared with Stabroek News. There are some interesting revelations here. The common goal of these two competitors is to inform and at the same time have more copies sold than the other. Kaieteur News chose to share this information with Stabroek News in recognition of the other common goal, the unspoken one: political agenda. That is an "anti-Government bias".
Here is a bit of information that can lead to the destruction of a public official, a Government functionary and "dem boyz seh"; let us unite and destroy.
Destroyed, too, in the process is public confidence in a system put in place for the provision of important information that can aid national security. The media have sought recourse to some gutter source in or close to someone at the utility company for telephone records. No one will be willing to even call the Minister on any issue, for the fear of their telephone records being shared between and published by these two convenient competitors/friends.
The media has, therefore, contributed to the erosion of public confidence in 1) contacting the Police on serious matters; and 2) In contacting even subject Ministers on serious matters or with important information. What role will it play in restoring that confidence, since national security has obviously been compromised.
However, as the Kaieteur Article puts it, "A paper stands to lose credibility if it continues to publish fiction or news which has no factual connection with reality or the real world". I therefore ask, based on the premise of these Kaieteur teachings, does any of these newspapers or some media houses understand the meaning of the word "phantom"?
Is this reality or the real world?
For the sake of both of these media houses, I hope they look into the proverbial mirror. For criticisms leveled, apply across the board.