…what has been the role of the media, can the media be bought or can the media push one agenda rather than another, rather than present the truth by getting the facts, all the facts and let people decide. It is about our intelligensia having the intellectual honesty to either declare who they support or give an unbiased view …
The quote above is timely because it again brings to the fore the role of local media in civil society. Is there a local body which can be held accountable by the public if there is a need to question ‘journalistic ethics’? As far as BU is aware the Barbados Association of Journalists ( BAJ) has not suggested it has the the mandate to perform such a task. Here is an example, on page 9A of the Sunday Sun June 19, 2011, in an article titled ‘The way to health reform’ published under the by-line Sandra Husbands (Guest Column). Blatant in its omission was the fact the Nation newspaper did not indicate that Sandra Husbands is the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate to oppose Minister Donville Inniss in St. James South when the bell is rung for the next general election. The article robustly attacked her political foe which makes the omission all the more irresponsible.
Recently the Nation newspaper severed seasoned journalists Chris Gollop and Wade Gibbons. BU understands the two had signalled an interest to accept a ‘package’ when the Nation sent home the first set of employees, Adonijah et al.. The Nation management, it seems, took the opportunity to part company with the two in the most recent sending home of employees. We find the decision interesting because with the dearth of journalistic talent at the Nation and beyond one would have thought the management at that newspaper would have vetoed Messrs’ Gollop and Gibbons request to leave. The deed is done but it forced BU to share a suspicion we have about goings-on at the Fontebelle newspaper.
To what extent are we (the public) satisfied the Nation newspaper has been professional in managing its editorial policy in light of the political affiliation of key principals at the newspaper. Barbados is a small island and it is not difficult to acquirer information. The Publisher of the Nation is known to be a seasoned BLPite, the Editor-in-Chief is a devout follower of Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur, lead columnist the decaffeinated one, a former legal guru and member of parliament and political correspondent known to be influenced by Mascoll in his writings are known to be BLPites. The question arising, to what extent can the editorial output of the Nation be separated from the political leaning of the key players named?
It is not surprising to some the news making the rounds that Sandy Lane and MQI have stopped doing business with the company. Barbadians need to start being more discerning and start to question the job our media is doing. Nothing needs to be stated about The Barbados Advocate.