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The Role of the Media is not to make the Gov’t look good

LettersDear Editor

The furore regarding the statement by Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar regarding the media’s attitude to the Peoples Partnership Government  shows how thin skinned the media is and how much it will not examine its own behaviour with respect to the Government and in many ways the Opposition. It appears that the media has an objective which says, “get them!”

The PM may have unfortunately used the word “rogue” to describe those elements in the media who have defined a specific agenda which is to negate anything that the government does which is beneficial to the citizenry and to elevate the errors of the government. Be that as it may, the PM was extremely cautious to say firstly, that’s she did not wish to be construed as making an attack on the media, secondly, that she did not want any war with the media, thirdly, that she respected the role of the media in educating and informing the population but that fourthly, she also believed that the media had a responsibility to be fair. Now what is wrong with that statement. How does that amount to an attack on the media? Obviously the media as soon as it receives a criticism it calls wolf.

The media feels that it has the freedom to destroy people and organizations even if it does not have all the facts, It creates innuendos which get a “truth and life” of their own. I am afraid that the media sees itself as the only truth and that all others are subject to its criticisms no matter what the real truth might be.

Tell me how did the statement of the PM amount to an attack on the media? The media in the  case of Anil Roberts has refused thus far to apologize despite the correction made by the Integrity Commission. Examine carefully the headlines of the newspapers particularly the Express and the Guardian and you will see that generally they are not in sync with the story. This is blatant mischief on the part of the newspapers and is calculated to affect the ability of the government to stay in Office. From day one the government has not had a respite from the media, Sure the government has made errors but at the same time this government has been doing good things. Yet the media says that it is not its job to push government propaganda. Since when are the achievements of the government propaganda? Is the opening of a bridge propaganda especially if that bridge was rebuilt two months after the old one collapsed. Are the opening of early childhood centers propaganda? Is the opening of the teaching hospital in San Fernando propaganda? Is the commissioning of water projects propaganda? The media has a very serious credibility problem if its thinking is so skewed. But to allude that its job is not to make the government look good is to also say that its job is to make the government look bad. And that is extremely bothersome.

The Express has on Sundays four writers who write against the government.(martin Daly, Sunity Maharaj, Raffique Shah and Selwyn Ryan). On Mondays they have Keith Subero and Michael Harris. Irene Medina has always been a critic of the government at the Mirror and now at the Express. The Guardian has Maxie Cuffie who does not hide his agenda as well as Anthony Wilson amongst others. People like Asha Javeed and Anika Gumbs Sandiford have always been painting a negative picture of the Government. Amidst all of these writers none of the newspapers have ever invited a column weekly or daily by the political parties or government to put the view of government forward on matters their writers address or news items they cover. Wont it be nice if this could be achieved? This is what the PM asked for in terms of balance.

But why should one have any other expectations of the media except that which they have loudly proclaimed and which is “how to make this government look bad.”

Ramnarace Maharaj

Rock Road , Penal

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