Saturday, September 29, 2012

Letter: Media must be fair

Newspaper columnist Ms. Sheila Rampersad needs to be commended for her column entitled “Touch the media but not Anand” in the Express of Friday September 28, 2012. This column acknowledges that all legitimate objection can be made to the prominence given to a story about what the AG owns.

Ms. Rampersad said “a legitimate objection can be made in my view, to the prominence given to a story about what the AG owns in the absence of evidence that he acquired same illegitimately. That the AG was formerly a successful Attorney and can likely afford these investments is a sound position”.

This acknowledgement underscored that political mischief has been the source of much irritation, causing many in a society to hesitate from offering themselves to serve in public office out of fear that they will be vilified for the wealth they have accumulated by legitimate enterprise and arduous personal sacrifice.

Many castigate politicians for their political mediocrity and inferiority and ponder why in a society with such an abundance of intellectual capital, so few offer themselves for service. The article about the AG’s private investment is a powerful reminder why they do not step forward.

Who would dare expose themselves to ridicule by having their private financial affairs plastered all over the front page of the newspaper in a way to hint that wrongdoing was afoot, but without a shred of evidence to link it to any corrupt dealings?

It is against this backdrop, I wish to pose the following questions:

1. If a journalist is involved in a romantic relationship with a Government Minister or Opposition Parliamentarian, should this be disclosed, so that readers can be aware of the potential for political bias?

2. If a journalist was the secret recipient of gifts and benefits from some Government Minister or Opposition MP in exchange for their political support in the media, should this be disclosed?

3. If a newspaper is guilty of hiring columnists who all appear to be anti-Government or predictably so, should it be angry on being accused of supporting the PNM?

We all acknowledge, the media is important to our democracy: it influences, shapes and moulds the political psyche of our society. It therefore has a social responsibility to reflect the views of all interest groups in the body politic, not just some or one.

The People’s Partnership has mass support that is not reflected in the writings of our columnists who are consistently one-sided in their commentaries. For example, Keith Subero, Ralph Maraj, Michael Harris and Raffique Shah will never have anything positive to say about the present Government.

In the circumstances, while I condemn any attack on the media by the Government, I think there is need for greater self-reg . ulation and self-examination to ensure the media is reflecting as opposed to bending public opinion.

Garry Hunter |La Seiva, Maraval, Trinidad

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai