Dr Randy Persaud: Stabroek News is the ultimate expression of urban-cosmopolitan and bourgeois politics. Unlike Kaieteur News which has a no-holds-bar policy of cultivating a sense of mayhem on a daily basis, the Lacytown newspaper is subtle, more nuanced, and a bit more uppity. It comes across as the newspaper that stands above the fray; the source of impartial information.
But you should be careful, because Stabroek News is anything but neutral, apolitical, or even-handed. It is veritably at the leading edge of political chicanery.
Let us get specific here. Stabroek News is at the top of the list when it comes to decrying issues of transparency in Guyana. It is also a top dog when issues of press freedom are raised. No problem with these latter, because these are indeed matters of national importance.
The problem is that Stabroek News does not practise what it preaches, and moreover, is at the leading edge of fronting opposition sentiments against the democratically elected PPP government. Where is the evidence you ask.
The evidence can be easily found in a news item published last Friday under the title ‘PPP/C holds biggest bloc of voters – CADRES poll: AFC on the upswing’ (SN June 4). You need to carefully read the framing of the poll and its findings.
Here is how SN dealt with the source of the poll: “Stabroek News was told that the poll was privately commissioned and CADRES was recently given approval to release the findings to the public” (emphasis mine). Hold on. Stabroek News “was told”?
Three things jump out here. Firstly, it appears that the results of the poll were given to Stabroek News by a third party, not by CADRES.
Secondly, if the newspaper was told, then it logically means that there was – so to speak – a teller. Who is it that told Stabroek News about the poll? I call upon Stabroek News to name the teller!
The third matter is straightforward but of equal gravity. Who commissioned this private poll? Who paid for it? Was it the AFC or some other political operative?
Until such time that Stabroek News names the ‘teller’ and the entity that commissioned the poll it will be in breach of the basic protocols of ethical journalism. The newspaper must live up to its own words about transparency and present the relevant information to the Guyanese public.
If it does not, then we will have incontrovertible evidence that Stabroek News is working hand in hand with opposition elements.
I called Stabroek News before writing this letter. The person who answered the phone said that there was no one at the newspaper to answer my questions regarding the poll. I left my number at my office, as well as my cell number. No one called back.