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LETTER OF THE DAY - Negative media hype feeds fright

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2010 | 4:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Recently, the local news media claimed that at the present murder rate in Jamaica, we may hit 2,000 this year. I waited for a retraction, but good sense has given way to hype and fright.

The statistics do not bear this out: "443 murders in 102 days" or "461 in 103 days" is better than 2009. Here is the arithmetic: 443 รท 102 = 4.343 per day, and 4.343 x 365 = 1,585 for 2010. Now, 461 in 103 days is 1,633 for the year, averaging 1609. Compare this with 2009: 1,680; and in 2008, it was 1,611.

Instead of the negative hype and fear, the media should be saying that although we are nowhere near where we should be, we are heading in the right direction, at least for the time being, with a four per cent improvement on last year. We should all hope for better, and citizens should do their part to contribute to the downward trend, while our news should, at least, be accurate.

Good news, like that of the community in Montego Bay, which banded together to eradicate crime, should be retold. They caught a gunman and handed him, his weapon and his ammunition to the police. The perpetrators of justice should feel safe nowhere in Jamaica.

But criminal tendencies among our youth may have been abetted by the degradation of our musical culture. I love reggae, but I hate what this unique genre has become. Our aggressive kill, gun and murder lyrics are desensitising a whole new generation about badness and death. Certainly, this is not freedom of expression, so I commend the Eastern Caribbean islands and the United States for their leadership by not permitting some local entertainers to enter for their 'food', because it would be absolutely treacherous for them to allow the social destabilisation they spew out in the name of entertainment. In Jamaica, however, we must live with it. It is our sore and we may be unable to agree on an amicable corrective.

Finally, we should not give the thumbs-down to Jamaica and all persons domiciled here by making the news worse than it actually is. I believe that negativity, especially from our news media, influences business confidence. Not only will negativity kill entrepreneurship, it will influence the locals to migrate as soon as they get the opportunity. Then where will we be?

I am, etc.,

STEAD M. WILLIAMS

sweng19@hotmail.com

Kingston 9