There is the saying often posted in this space that the price of freedom (democracy) is eternal vigilance. A necessary component to safeguarding our freedom (democracy) is a relevant media. An extract from The Role of Media in Democracy: A Strategic Approach authored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) states:-
A free, objective, skilled media is an essential component of any democratic society. On the one hand, it provides the information which the polity require to make responsible, informed decisions. On the other, it performs a “checking function” ensuring that elected officials uphold their oaths of office and campaign promises and that they carry out the wishes of the electorate.
The blogmaster is reminded everyday since March 2007 when Barbados Underground (BU) went live on the WordPress platform the importance of a relevant media. We recall the VOB Sunday Brasstacks show when social commentator and retired hotelier Adrian Loveridge was forced to contribute to the program from a separate studio because it was the condition for the participation of former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch.
During one of last week’s VOB’s Brasstacks shows the blogmaster was again reminded of the naked manipulation of traditional media by a caller (was it you William?) who questioned the Nation Publishing company’s decision to anoint Khaleel Kothdiwala a columnist to replace Dr. Kristina Hinds. The caller’s simple and well articulated logic was – with the BLP in total control of the Lower House, why select Khaleel who is a BLP card carrying member. It does not mean Khaleel lacks the capacity to share a perspective on a myriad topics, however, making Khaleel a columnist ensured the leading publishing house in the country slammed the door on an opportunity to improve vigilance in our democracy.
This is not a personal attack on Khaleel, he obviously is an intelligent young man who is committed to be a BLP sponsored politician. And it is his right, to align with a political party of his choice. This is an attack on the Nation Publishing for allowing itself to be manipulated directly or indirectly into making Khaleel a columnist. We may speculate this is the Nation Publishing being opportunistic by contracting a young man whose star is rising or that ‘someone’ made a telephone call.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.