Thursday, August 13, 2009

FEATURED ARTICLE: Selective reporting by the Opposition media

The Observer: In my previous article I alluded to the selective reasons for protest by the Opposition with regards to a current court case in New York which is in the public domain here.

This deliberate selectiveness is not confined to the Opposition; the PNCR in collusion with the AFC. It is even more prevalent in some sections of the media; sections which, through their opinions and analyses, have fortified their association with the Opposition.

Examination of the reportage of these Opposition-friendly media houses during the crime wave which gripped this country between 2002-2004 and the massacres of 2008, reveal a seemingly seditious agenda which complemented the rants of the Opposition. It was not just a case of reporting on the Opposition’s actions. It was a case of giving it extreme prominence, laced with tainted opinions from the media operatives in question while totally disregarding the efforts of government to repel the marauding gunmen.

These gunmen, having being referred to as “freedom fighters” by the Opposition, received adulation from sections of the media. Stories were generated in their “honour”.

A talk show host, who spew hatred and divisiveness from a television station loyal to the main Opposition, gloated about his interview with a famous prison escapee. It is believed that the interview took place in the backlands of the East Coast in the presence of leading members of the said Opposition.

Who could forget the said gunman in fatigues posing with an AK 47 on some television stations and newspapers? One of the tenets of journalism is responsible reporting.

Having been aware of the fear these merciless gunmen imposed on the populace, how responsible was it for these media operatives to have published such pictures? What was their responsibility to the peace-loving people of this nation? It seems that that responsibility was to instil more fear to complement the efforts of the gunmen, because, if they had an inkling of care, such pictures which glorified killers would not have been published.

The said talk show host who, along with others, invaded the Office of the President and who was subsequently pardoned for treason by the President, is today an integral part of the Opposition protest and destabilisation efforts. He along with two trade unionists was charged with disorderly behaviour while protesting in front of the Police headquarters.

What is interesting to note, is that during an interview with the three by newscasts loyal to the Opposition, one clearly stated that “…the fires have begun to burn…” Hours after, the Ministry of Health was destroyed by fire. Premonition? Coincidence?

When such dangerous utterances are made in the public domain, again the responsibility of these media operatives must be questioned.

Why were such comments allowed to be aired? This is just one of the many instances where such vile tirades aimed at incitement are allowed to freely propagate on the airwaves and print material of these irresponsible media owners and operatives, some of whom boast of being highly qualified in the profession.

Given what has now become the status quo of this alliance between the Opposition and these sections of the media, no further conviction is needed of the integral role of the latter in fostering the cause of the former. As a matter of fact a television station is named after a former leader of the Opposition.

Development has been the hallmark of the PPP/C government. There are numerous visible indicators to attest; schools, hospitals, health centres, roads, bridges, vast improvements in water and electricity, a stable and growing economy, salary increases, re-tooling of the security forces and debt repayment are just a miniscule representation of what transpired over the last seventeen years.

Freedom of expression, travel and trade, confidence expressed by International Financial Institutions, the restoration of Guyana’s overseas image and the international respect for the President are some others. When the stadium and the many other infrastructural developments are considered, much has been achieved in this short period. Only a few weeks ago the World Press Freedom body, Freedom House, lauded Guyana’s press freedom status. The status was upgraded to that of “free”.

Have these developments been reported on by the sections of the media in question? An examination would reveal a resounding no. It is therefore clear that these Opposition-aligned media house are not interested in the developments which have, and are still ongoing in Guyana.

Their interest seemingly lies in the denigration of this administration with the clear intent of unseating it. They must be reminded that Guyana is now a democratic nation and the will of the electorate will not be subverted by the seditious action of these few media practitioners and their political bosses. The freedom they now enjoy in their profession has been restored by this administration.
With regards to the court case alluded to, many things have been said. Many of the things said were deemed as “hear-say”, and if I am correct, the learned Judge in the case had ruled to allow such “hear-say” evidence”.

This is Ok. What is not is for these media operatives who have travelled to the US to constantly be selective in what they report and expand on. Is it a coincidence that the owner/editor of a local newscast whose wife was a candidate for the main Opposition, and which newscast is known for its anti-government tirades, is reporting for a local newspaper of similar anti-government sentiments?

Is it a coincidence that the editor of another local newscast which airs on the television station named after a former leader of the Opposition, has also joined in reporting from New York for the same paper? Is it a coincidence that both sets of stories are similar? Is it a coincidence that the PNCR and the AFC placards bear similar message based on these biased reports?

The historic relationship between these media operatives and their always similar verbiage as that of the Opposition have dissuaded any thoughts of coincidence.

A collusion is clear; a collusion to besmirch the government. Based on what was revealed during the case, many names were called including an Opposition candidate and party associates within the armed forces.

I alluded to this in my previous article. As a reminder, Ronald Waddell, a former PNCR candidate and former reporter of a media house which is believed to be a part of the opposition media, was alluded to in the trial.

Based on what was revealed, he was deemed a criminal. He reportedly supported the efforts of the gunmen whose political direction was to be integral in the effort to oust the government. This was also treason.

Lives were lost; innocent lives. Waddell’s involvement cannot be divorced from that of his Party. As this section of the media has speculated and postulated with regards to a government Minister whose name was also called, the same can be applied to the Opposition.

As such, Waddell’s Party, based on the same revelations, was reportedly involved in a ploy to ascend to the seat of government by undemocratic means. This is also treason!

Why has this not been reported on by the Opposition media alluded to herein? Why no clamour for the leaders of the PNCR and the AFC to resign in the light of these revelations? They will not dare to offend their bosses by such reporting. Not because of respect or fear, but because they are not only an integral part of such treachery and the lifeline of this group; but because they share the same lack of value for Guyana and its property and have seemingly dedicated their lives to such a cause.

As a result, these selective reporting as blatant from the reports on the court case in question, will not cease. Their mandate to fulfil the wishes of the Opposition will not wane. In a free society, this is Ok. It seems this will remain a part of the landscape of the report of these sections of the Guyana. Freedom can indeed bring out the worst in some.

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