Monday, September 7, 2009

Kaieteur News paints an innocent picture of itself. But is Kaieteur News truly innocent?

Dr Randy Persaud: Only recently President Jagdeo pointed out that Kaieteur News is engaged in a willful campaign of distortion, aimed at ruining the image of Guyana.

The president was aggressed upon by KN publisher Glenn Lall, in what the Guyana Chronicle described as an ‘emotional outburst’.

Kaieteur News responded by writing stories of press freedom, and more broadly by painting itself as an innocent victim. But how innocent is Kaieteur News? I will answer this question based on KN’s ‘own journalistic’ practices. Here we go.

I want readers to take a careful look at the Friday (September 4, 2009) edition of Kaieteur News.

There is a big caption reading “Stanleytown Pump supplier implicated in international fraud – pg. 12”. Let us examine this story carefully and see what comes out. For clarity of presentation I’ll break down each point in an easy to read format.

1. Kaieteur News originally published a front page story with huge photographs of the Stanleytown Pump alleging that the actual cost was $11 million, but that the contractor charged $61.5 million (KN July 20).

2. Kaieteur News followed this up under various stories of government corruption. All the stories were given the front page, accompanied by dramatic photographs.

3. The corruption ‘line’ has been vigorously followed by other stories of alleged corruption, all with huge photographs. In one dramatic instance KN showed a photo of a bridge, alleging corruption. This story was refuted by the contractor who pointed out that the bridge in the photograph had been built years before. The story, in other words, was a big lie.

4. Kaieteur News then began another ‘line’ of stories in which it tried to lay the blame on Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud.

5. The contractor who installed the Stanleytown Pump repeatedly pointed out that the KN story was erroneous. A detailed accounting was provided by Mr. Tulsi in Stabroek News letter section on September 3, 2009.

6. By September 3, 2009, the Kaieteur News strategy of using photographs to front stories of alleged corruption had caught the public’s eye, and in fact had become a captured audience.

7. Using this captured audience, and knowing fully well that Tulsi had provided a detailed accounting of the Stanleytown Pump expenditure, Kaieteur News decided to ‘move in for the kill’. What should KN do in light of Mr. Tulsi’s refutation of the macabre front page propaganda onslaught.

8. Instead of retracting the original Stanleytown Pump story, KN decided to engage in an extraordinary stunt of deceit.

9. On September 4, 2009 Kaieteur News runs the big caption noted above with the throw to Pg. 12. The story is a big hoax in that it is fundamentally misleading.

10. The hoax has two parts. The first part is that the report on international fraud has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Guyana. The entire story is about fraud in the United States and Nigeria!

11. The second part is even more deceitful. The international fraud story was published SEVEN YEARS AGO in the United States. Kaieteur News simply reprinted that old story and inserted the words Stanleytown Pump in the story line. Please note that Kaieteur News ITSELF admits to this. No one is making this up.

12. Kaieteur News then complains that it is not able to get through to the supplier of the pump to verify the information provided by Mr. Tulsi. Believe it or not, there is more to this.

13. Mr. Tulsi’s account of the expenditures is situated next to the SEVEN-YEAR-Old report on Nigeria. The intended effect is to displace Mr. Tulsi’s account so that it would not be taken for what it is – a detailed accounting of the expenditure.

I would like readers to note the following things.

(a) Kaieteur News relies on dramatic pictures knowing fully and well that ‘a picture’ can tell a thousand words.’ The deceitful part of this is that most of these pictures are not followed up by proper investigative journalism.

(b) Kaieteur News knows fully and well that a large section of the Guyanese population do not actually read newspaper reports with care. With that knowledge, Kaieteur News then relies on photos to willfully communicate misleading information.

(c) Kaieteur News has a writing staff that has openly declared that it is interested in bringing down the current Government of Guyana.

(d) The photos used by Kaieteur News are intended to drive uncertainty, anxiety, and outright fear in the minds of the Guyanese population.

(e) The entire propaganda campaign by Kaieteur News is intended to support opposition political parties and other opposition forces that engage in ‘irregular forms of politics’.

(f) Some writers at Kaieteur News have demonstrated a pathological hatred for President Jagdeo, despite all his accomplishments.

(g) Most important of all – Kaieteur News is one of the political arms of the opposition, but when it is challenged, it screams that it is an independent newspaper.

The people of Guyana should know where President Jagdeo stands on the question of press freedom. President Jagdeo has stated that he will do everything to protect the right of the press to publish without fear. Mr. Jagdeo went so far as to say that he will protect the rights of a press even if some outlets lie.


1 comment: