Traditional Media: Fail, Fail, Fail!

The blogmaster tuned into the Brasstacks show on Voice of Barbados yesterday because the topic was about press freedom. It is a ‘large topic’ and one that could not be fairly discussed in 2 hours. The moderator Dr. Kristina Hinds gave it her best effort supported by panellists David Ellis, Carol Martindale (journalists) and Michelle Russell (lawyer).

Listen to Down to Brasstacks Show – 16 May 2021

A few observations from the show:

The traditional media must accept that citizen journalism is a permanent feature how the public consumes and distributes information. Opinion blogs and other social media outlets do not need validation from traditional media to continue to define the information landscape.

The traditional media must manage convergence of traditional and social media tools to maintain competitiveness to deliver on its mandate. This has nothing to do with acceptance and penetration of non traditional media players. The traditional media must ponder why there has been the explosion of citizen journalism activity. The reason is simple. Traditional media has fallen woefully short of playing the watchdog and advocacy role required in a well functioning democracy and can be cited for contributing to some of the challenges we currently face. The blogmaster will be fair to admit we have some unsavoury and dishonourable characters who resort to social media platforms under the cloak of anonymity to pursue mischief. Here is the rub, some of these unsavoury and dishonourable characters occupy honourable positions in the society when wearing other hats.

Panellists freely admitted local journalists are not adequately paid therefore a reasonable conclusion to make is that there is roomto question the quality of work by the traditional media. How ironic the Nation newspaper selected Senator Caswell Franklyn as the news personality of the year after he was sacked as a columnist with his appointment to the Senate in 2018.

The explosion of non traditional media means it significantly acts as an influencer; opinion shaper. Smart governments, best in class organizations understand the importance of leveraging its power. Does it explain why the Mia Mottley led government established the Department of Public Affairs? Of course it does.

If the traditional media was doing its job the blogmaster suspects the government and vested NGO agencies would be forced to add a more coherent and strident voice to issues of the day. It is unsatisfactory for the media practioners to say, we cover this story and that story offered on the program yesterday. It is how the story is covered to ensure resonance with the target audience.

  1. With the National Insurance Scheme severely compromised and government’s inability to make public up-to-date audited financials, why is this not a priority item for traditional media? Does it have to do with the lack of financial expertise in traditional media rank?
  2. With the hire of boutique firm White Oak Advisory to assist government with renegotiating contracts with local and foreign creditors, why the veil of secrecy concerning the current status of the relationship? A respected media should have been qualified to ferret out this information to serve the public it has a mandate to serve.
  3. What is the status of the Cahill Agreement and how much money are taxpayers liable?
  4. Since the 70s going back to late prime minister Tom Adams successive governments have tagged team to frustrate the proclamation and operationalizing of Transparency Legislation. Governance is not a sexy topic BUT the traditional media with its resources can do a better job to keep this important issue front and centre, that is, to report and at the same time distil its importance required by a well functioning democracy. Many of the problems we currently face are rooted in a crumbling governance structure.
  5. How was the Eager 11 case settled after several members took to the Court to defend their honour?
  6. What has happened to Senator Lucille Moe?

At the risk of generating a 2000 word prolix, let us agree there is a vacuum created by a poorly performing traditional media, this has given rise to a strident citizen journalism voice – the interference from deep pockets, the tentacles of interfering governments and members of the political class, the inability/unwillingness of local journalist/media houses to coalesce around shared objectives and strategies to deliver on the mandate of a high performing media…

Long live alternative media sources Carl Moore!

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler Reacts to Criticism on the Eve of No Confidence Motion

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Yesterday [21/10/2013] David Ellis of Voice of Barbados shared audio of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler [MoF] and Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley. BU finds the audio interesting because of the comments which the MoF directed at David Ellis, Dennis Johnson, Corey Layne and Netafari Caddle in their role as talk show hosts. Listen and be the judge, justified you think?

Although the focus today [22/10/2013] is expected to be on a motion of No Confidence brought by the Opposition against the MoF the broadside by the MoF on the media should be of concern. At a time when the country should be fixated on finding ways to surmount the economic challenges this is where we find ourselves. Is it not interesting both political parties eventually become confrontational with the media?

Listen to the MoF’s comment followed by the Leader of the Opposition

Current State Of Media Space In Barbados According To International Press Institute – Yet a Passive BAJ

The Barbados Association of Journalist website has not been updated since February 2009 – CLICK image to confirm

On your point about Fourth Estate issues. Those considerations have long become non-existent for the people who were to be served when this idea became popular after the French Revolution. In fact it is fair to say corporate media like the Nation and the Advocate are interested, not so much in social concerns, but in making profit for their owners. Therefore our overarching point is that whether it is the BBC, CNN, The Walt Street Journal, The New York Times, The Nation or the Advocate it does not matter. Delivering benefit to the owners is the prime consideration, regardless of structure or long forgotten notions about democracy and mass participation. To them these ideas are anachronistic or quaint.


The International Press Institute (I.P.I) has submitted its evaluation of Barbados’ media space. The Barbados government has been given a thumbs down by IPI on the lack of political will to implement Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation. The unwillingness to issue TV licenses to private players to disseminate non-state views. It was very critical of the Barbados government criminalizing defamation as represented in Section 34 of the Defamation Act.

Here are the recommendations handed out by the IPU:

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Wait Mia, Wait Mia Wait

Submitted by HAMILTON HILL

Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur (l) Former Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (r)

Listening to today’s (6/07/2012) edition of Fireworks on VOB, my thoughts ran wild once Mia Mottley again spoke of her dream to see the building of nationhood in Barbados. Though tangentially, she touched an area that finds resonance with those who refuse to permit patriotism to be stunted or seconded by party loyalty.

Not for one minute have I missed the very crafty attempt by the unofficial co-leader to rebuild, to revamp an image that fell victim to a group of misogynists led by “King Conniver” to whom she still reports. Be that as it may there are any number of questions that readily come to mind.

Lets for just a moment put the questions about her dream aside. Perhaps this one is not for her but it has to be asked. What has changed over the passage of time? She has the same credentials that qualified her to be “King Conniver’s”deputy, the same ones that were not fit for ascension to the leadership once the Bajan version of Mitt Romney came aboard.

What has changed?

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The Nation Is At It Again

Submitted by Barbados Election Watch

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

One can now be left in no doubt that the Nation Newspaper has set itself the agenda of getting rid of Prime Minister Stuart at all cost. On more than one occasion, contributors to this blog have drawn attention to the unmistakably biased approach of that paper towards the Prime Minister of Barbados. It would seem that  whatever he does, or fails to do, no matter that he conducts himself with the highest level of decorum, and honesty he can be the subject of some form of ridicule . Very recently noted historian and  veteran trade unionist Mr Robert Bobby Morris drew attention to the way the Prime Minister was depicted by the paper when it sought to comment in a front page  article on the results of the CADRES poll . Mr Stuart the tallest of the persons presented in a form of picture chart , was made to look like some puny midget in a straight-jacket while the others , of shorter stature , were much more favourably presented. Other persons have been commenting on the kinds of photos of Mr Stuart that the paper has been recently using in its efforts to ridicule him in some form or fashion .

Today however, the newspaper has done its worst. The BIG BOLD HEADLINES IN RED SCREAMED …” NOT A WORD”. BHTA head says PM has not responded to request for meeting “It was a story by a Gercine Carter in which the paper has outdone itself in its efforts at  vilification . The Prime Minister was being ” rapped for failing to respond to a Barbados Hotel Association ( BHTA ) request for an urgent meeting to discuss the  plight of the Island’s vital tourism industry “. It went further to state that “the Prime Minister’s priorities were yesterday called into question by the outgoing president of the BHTA, Colin Jordan, who pointed to Stuart’s promptness in meeting with Cuban ex-convict Raul Garcia at Dodds Prison recently, while a letter requesting the meeting more than two months ago had not been acknowledged to date “.

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A View Of The NATION From Underground

Submitted by WordSong

Kaymar Jordan, Editor-in-Chief of the NATION Newspaper

No Kaymar Jordan you did not tell the truth and stand justifiably accused by the general public. Your manipulations and distortions converted what could have been an otherwise great story into a scandalous piece of journalistic tripe. Now you and whoever helped you write that editorial would hoodwink the public (again) into believing that there was merit in what you did; all you have done in the editorial is to confirm the stupidity of the NATION’s newspaper policy. Technology has seen it fit that newspapers remain widely read. So what was the point you were making about technology again? No amount of spin doctoring will alter what remains a travesty.

You distorted the truth – for effect and commercial gain and possibly out of pure ignorance. You could not even give the public that your deliberateness in distorting was influenced by the expectation of more information and for that you apologize. I now say any decent newspaper would have fired you or put you on the back bench like they will put Sinckler. I for one will not buy another Nation or Sunday Sun newspaper. But what does it matter? Who cares? Not the Nation . Harold Hoyte I am ashamed of you too because I know you still have influence in what goes on at the paper.

Not So Fast George

Submitted by Hamilton Hill


Clyde Mascoll - will he force his way into the Arthur's 30?

Having taken issue with the foregone article “Not Accurate Mr. Clarke” I beg the indulgence of the promoters of this site in an attempt to tell it as I think it is. While it is neither here nor there when it raised its ugly head, we are quite sure that disrepute found its way into the hive long before Mr. Clarke submitted for print his offering. He was warned about the journalistic imprudence of launching an attack on the leadership of the labour party.

As the writer chose to reference history in his piece so will I. Can it be that given the record as it stands Mr. Clarke stands to suffer the same fate as one Reudon Eversley who was tormented beyond belief for daring to take a similar stand? Is there anyone in Barbados that is willing to openly challenge the following? The present leader of the labour party was the most oppressive Prime Minister Barbados has ever known in relation to journalists and the practise of news  dissemination in our country. History tells that sordid tale.

Lets look at his invocation of Karl Marx’s pronouncement as it relates to Neville Clarke. Not only is such grounded in subjectivity but selective reasoning like a sore thumb sticks out at us. If objectivity is key to the base of journalism, can the writer say Branford? How about Price? So true is the old adage that spit in the air falls in our faces. Lets call a spade just that.

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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 –

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Time To Question The Political DNA Of Media Houses On Fontabelle

…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 …

Sandra Husbands

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.

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The Ted Stevens Revelation – The Connection To VECO, A US Justice System Manipulated, Barbadian Eric Holder To The Rescue

Then in February 2009 an FBI whistle blower revealed that prosecutors had conspired to withhold exculpatory evidence from the defense and had falsified records. In particular, the prosecutors withheld testimony that the cost of the renovations was actually less than Stevens had paid. They also knew that the star witness was likely lying at trial when he said that a friend of Stevens had told him to ignore the senator’s request for an invoiceNational Post

Deseased former Senator Ted Stevens (l) US Attorney General Eric Holder (r)

In the build up to the last General Election the then opposition party highlighted the relationship between VECO and the Barbados Labour Part government with good effect. Barbadians it seemed bought into the allegations that the Arthur Administration had become tainted by relationships with VECO, the company which built the Dodds Prison, 3S, the company which widened the ABC Highway and would have built the contentious flyovers and others.

The story quoted above maybe of interest to Barbadians to expose how reputations can be crushed by a US Justice System believed to be just but which can be manipulated all the same by those with political agendas. The following comment was received by BU and in the interest of promoting free and frank exchanges, we publish:

Please read this incredible miscarriage of justice. I hope Barbadians understand that this had a connection to a company called VECO and the accusations, groundless it seems, led to its demise.  At least a Barbadian (Holder) had the courage to stop the rot. You should be proud. How easy it is to spread rumours and falsehoods!!! You should publish this as a lesson in the extent to which the US justice system will go to destroy somebody.

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Cynical Reporting And Hidden Agendas

Credit: The Advocate Newspaper

Submitted by George Brathwaite

First of all I would like to commend the various media houses in Barbados for doing a reasonable job in reporting information to the public. However, there can and will be always room for improvements.

For some time now, I have become aware of a seeming change in traditional standards (i.e. declining) wherein the trend in news reporting in Barbados draws merited scepticism. Newspapers, for instance, protect their turf with an uncanny attachment toward their undeclared political interests and expect the general public to assume neutrality. To a large extent, the Barbados Advocate newspaper appears foremost in this indefensible circumstance.

After noticing the headlines of Wednesday 14 July 2010, which in bold typeface, communicates that Barbados Int‟l Reserves Increase, I felt heartened and confused simultaneously. This attention-grabber was coming on the heels of another electronic version, Barbados Today, in which that headline courted the notion that things were UNCERTAIN in the economy; this was substantiated in the Barbados Daily Nation appearing under the caption Gloomy Outcome and for which the first sentence states, “Central Bank Governor Dr Delisle Worrell says the outlook for Barbados‟ economy is uncertain.” Certainly there are mixed (i.e. different) messages being conveyed to the reader between the reporting of the Advocate and the two news carriers alluded to in this paragraph.

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We Live In Interesting Times – Google’s Intrusion, Precedent Setting Libel Laws On The Cards

Mail Online

The rapid advance in Internet and cellphone technology coupled with its deep market penetration has given wings to the cliché, we live in interesting times. The technology exposes a cellphone user’s position within feet relative to the nearest cell tower. Does the average citizen understand that by acquiring the cellphone there is a quid pro quo to be considered? John Citizen enjoys the convenience of being connected but a blip appears on Big Brother’s radar.

Recently in the United Kingdom, the largest search engine Google is alleged to have been caught with its hand in the cookie jar. In a widely reported story in the Mail Onlinethe search engine giant mapped every wireless internet connection in the country and now uses the data to make money. Google staff in specially adapted cars collected the signals from inside residents’ homes as they toured the country for the company’s Street View project. They were able to record the location of every router and wireless network without telling anyone because wi-fi signals spill out from inside homes on to the street.

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The Blooming Of A Thousand Flowers Ready To Launch Assault On The Culture Of Silence Suffocating Barbados

The verdict on the recent application by the Barbados Light & Power Company for a rate hike promised by the Chairman of the Fair Trading Commission  (FTC) Sir Neville Nicholls passed without any serious notice by the media earlier this month. The media given its responsibility within the Fourth Estate of the Realm has failed the PEOPLE yet again given its responsibility to keep us informed. The blatant renege by the Fourth Estate of its important civil responsibility means that most Barbadians remain ignorant to the important issues affecting them.

The Head of the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (BANGO) Roosevelt King when asked by BU the possible reason for the delay gave the following response:

“Through fear tactics, psychological warfare, oppression and violence many people have been forced physically and mentally, [to not exercise] their right to voice their opinions or their desires to fight against the oppression that they experience. The people are forced to believe, and later come to identify with, the idea that the oppressor has supreme power and is working in the favor of the people. As a result a culture of quiet, non resistant, passive if you will, people are born. This Culture of Silence is longstanding and continues because the people continue to allow the destruction and the oppression to occur, not because they want to, but because fighting against the oppressor seems futile. Those that do fight are eradicated and made examples of in the attempt to silence future attempts at reform. – Author unknown – internet posting”

Be reminded Mr. King’s BANGO participated in the just concluded FTC/BL&P rate hike application.

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Fourth Estate Surrender

Recently Mr. Richard Cox, Head of News and Current Affairs at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) passed away. Last week BU learned that veteran Nation newspaper journalist Albert Brandford was put out to pasture and is currently freelancing at the Nation (seems a little strange). Despite BU’s disagreement with many Brandford’s positions on political matters, we concede that his ineffectiveness over the years may have been caused by the lack of support from his colleagues. Wow, if David Ellis were to exit the profession next, the talent level of the Fourth Estate would be less than mediocre. As if to support the point BU read a story which was reprinted by the Nation from the Associated Press (AP) which questioned Tiger Woods proclivity for fraternizing with White women.

For sometime BU has been discussing race issues and we have been labeled racist by some. It is interesting the Nation newspaper would highlight the Tiger story verbatim from the AP wire, but would hesitate to publish local stories which highlight the hypocrisy around race relations in Barbados. The conspiracy to prop up the status quo maybe?

Our journalists today seem happy to run with stories which appeal to the fast food diet of readers. Recently, a caller to a talk show made the analogy of patients doing research before visiting the doctor and consequently keeping the doctor’s diagnosis honest. The same is occurring within the media sphere. A knowledgeable and discerning public now has access to news and information on the Internet more than ever before. There is the current readership who will continue to prop up the membership of the local media but BU sees it declining overtime with a changing demographic.

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Nation Newspaper Creates News Based On Unscientific Cellphone Poll


Barbados Nation Newspaper Cartoon - 09 November 2009

Submitted as a comment by Adrian Hinds

Two accepted scientific polls with results unfavourable to Mia Mottley, followed by two questionable polls that are favourable to her. The latter enabled by the Nation newspaper; coincident, or a deliberate attempt to create news rather than report it?

We should remember the 2007-8 Cadres poll that suggested 20-10 victory for the DLP in the 2008 Jan 15 national election. We should remember the counter poll by Boxill that sought to counter Cadres projections and results.

Another Cadres poll with statistics that Mia Mottley does not like so the Nationnews decided to counter or is it contained the results of that poll with a text message unscientific poll and has sought to highlight and publicize the results as if they were or could ever be provable “statements of Facts”.

During all of this traditional media employees are reminding us that they  check and recheck facts.