Blogs Guarding Freedom Of Expression

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

Karim said Trinidad and Tobago needs an educated, enlightened and fiercely independent media, noting that “fiercely independent journalists operating in the traditions of the Fourth Estate will provide our citizens with the facts on which they can make informed decisions.


In seems coincidental that at the launch of the College of Science, Technology and the Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago’s (COSTAATT) Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communication Studies the above quote was uttered on the very same day the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales came out strongly on behalf of an independent press and the vital necessity of such an organ in any democratic society.

The Lord Chief Justice’s insightful comments can be found on the Daily Mail’s website, among others –

We can only wonder wonder what would the Lord Chief Justice make of the “independent” press of Barbados where good and competent reporters are constantly being fired or pressured for not espousing the political posturing of their management, political masters and other interests  which can be found in the world of corporate.

Given the Lord Chief Justice’s views on the absolute necessity of a free press to a democratic process, may we assume that, were it not for the much politically and maligned blogs, our claim to be a democracy would be a false one? In other words, Barbados’ claim to be a democracy is supported, not by the passive and inept Fourth Estate, but by the Fifth Estate whose master is the people.

0 thoughts on “Blogs Guarding Freedom Of Expression

  1. Very interesting. I thought how appropriate it was that the Lord Chief Justice’s name is Lord Judge. I remember back in the 60s, the name of the head man at Barclays Bank was Mr. Money.

    In actual fact, Lord Judge’s comments are based on a community that has several national newspapers. Times and the Sun owned by Rupert Murdoch, while the Mail, the Mirror, the Guardian and the Telegraph are owned by others. Therefore, there is a lot of competition and a lot of politicians lobbying the editors of these newspapers to get their political points across. In Barbados, we are effectively stuck with the Nation and the Advocate. Therefore, the role of the social media, now called the Fifth Estate, is critical and it seems that politicians and their spin doctors are coming to grips with that and jumping on the bandwagon.

    But once again, there are only two organs of the Fifth Estate that are widely read. This one and Barbados Free Press. And unfortunately, we have seen evidence within the last year or so that the allegiance of Barbados Free Press is likely for sale to anyone who has their going rate of $650 US per week to pay them.

    Also, the Fifth Estate relies heavily on the contributions and information from the man or woman in the street. That man or woman in the street needs to know that their identity is protected and more so in a small community like Barbados. Regrettably, BFP, the other major organ of the Fifth Estate, seems not to respect anonymity.

    So, it is no surprise to me to see that the politicians are beating a path to the door of BU where at least they are assured that their comments will be aired, their views respected and their anonymity preserved. Even if they are not agreed with.

    Lord Judge is correct and thank God we have a working organ of the Fifth Estate in Barbados and long may it continue and prosper.

  2. Not sure what Peter Wickham meant in the opening salvo of his column today. Whatever we think he means it is his opinion. What is clearly evident 5-years plus is that the 5th Estate is no friend of the Fourth Estate; we have our agenda which is dictated by one set of interest, the PEOPLE. We are not obligated to the hand of the advertiser’s dollars or political interest.

    The other point which needs addressing is the oft criticism of BU and others that we tend to rubbish everything. This is a blog which deals with the messy issues which afflict the underbelly of our society. Describe BU as a pressure movement, we expose, critique and robustly debate the issues but never forget we are as patriotic as anyone.

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