What's the motive here?
February 5, 2004
I hasten to comment on the Stabroek News editorial of Monday, February 2, 2004. The writer in asking what he/she describes as elementary questions in the concluding lines seems to suggest that the initiatives raised are not being pursued.
Is there an iota of evidence in the possession of the writer to prove that these initiatives are not being undertaken? Must the Government through the Guyana Police Force announce to the general public every initiative that it undertakes in the national security sector? Then we will have the most laidback and profitable criminal enterprise the world over where information of every move of the law enforcement agencies reaches them in the next day's newspapers. This will work well for some. My point is that the failure to announce the undertaking of these initiatives does not necessarily mean any initiatives undertaken.
This editorial comes from the very newspaper that colluded with another to publish the telephone records of the head of the national security sector. The total disregard for responsible journalism does not get worse than that.
On the notion of responsibility, just allow me to mention in passing a transgression of a headline, "Killer squad member dies" in Kaieteur News of Monday, February 2, 2004. Someone closely related to Thomas should take this daily model of sensationalism to task over this very suggestive headline. Despite several denials Thomas, the man, had already been tried and found guilty in the court of irresponsible media.
The very suggestion by the Stabroek editorial under review, that the calls from Axel Williams to the minister or even vice versa, at any time of day or night, suggests collusion of some sort in alleged killings. If Tom Jones and John Doe are criminals working together, I cannot get real information about John Doe from Anand Persaud, the Editor in Chief of the Stabroek News. The best and most solid information I can get about John can be only from Tom Jones. What is so unusual about that? The minister has said that time and time again. But the opposition and its media are seemingly not satisfied.
Everyone is entitled to his opinion. The President's remarks at Annandale are expressions of his personal belief though, I suspect, the majority in this country shares similar sentiments. Many believe, too, that the media are out of control. Storming the secretariat of the Minister of Home Affairs by several media operatives without authorization, as well as leaning against his office door, insisting upon seeing him without appointment, is one such example.
More notably, the accusations of irresponsible reporting, even against the 'mighty' Stabroek News, have come not only from Government officials and supporters. USAID country director Mike Sarhan found it necessary to do some admonitions of his own. The writer of the editorial might see criticisms of wrongdoing and malpractice in and by the media as an attempt to divert attention from the Bacchus allegations, but some of us sane ones are still preoccupied with only truth being disseminated to the public. Therefore, some reports leave mush to be desired and must be criticized.
I am, and continue to be, an advocate of freedom of speech/expression and for freedom of the press, but the word freedom is not meant to be taken in the absolute sense. For therein lies responsibility. To be responsible not to misinform and to be responsible not to mislead!