Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Media need to be more robust

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:05 AM


Governance in Jamaica is at an all-time low, especially with the almost daily revelations of allegations of illegality by those who swore to defend the Constitution of Jamaica in the execution of the duties they are appointed/chosen to serve.

Continuous revelations have shown that the current Government needs a reality check. Once their irregularities are revealed, their method of operation usually follows this pattern: deny; accuse the fact-finders; defend each other in the parliament; loud noise about past misdeeds of their opponents, claim the allegations are only speculation/unproven, and are decades old.

The resignation of the Speaker was inevitable as, from my reading, her stories changed like an animal camouflaging to catch its prey. The only other needed action now is for the six members of parliament who are allegedly under investigation to be revealed by the ‘head of government’, Andrew Holness.

What I find most disappointing is that so-called practitioners of the fourth estate in democratic countries, ‘the press’ and other civil society groups, along with certain members of the privileged class, are selective with their outrage. Members of the Government have been calling for the dismantling of the Integrity Commission (IC), yet civil society seems muted!

A shooting was reported at a media house after they were called out for being sympathetic to one party, and we have not heard the source of the shooting. A similar occurrence happened when a member of the IC was shot. The police were quick to label it as robbery. When one of the IC leaders was asked about the shooting and responded “Ask the Government”, this is now a reason for the echo chambers calling for his resignation!

So, what one can conclude from all these selective outrages is, these practitioners of the fourth estate and civil society in Jamaica are clearly biased. I say this from a conversation I had several years ago at a gathering in New Jersey where a senior writer for one of the major newspapers and I had a conversation about why Jamaica does not conduct investigative journalism. I was told that it is done but because of the incestuous relationships with board members and journalists, most, if not all, stories are squashed.

Could the Press Association of Jamaica update the public on their position regarding the allegations that six members of parliament are under investigation for illicit enrichment? Is this a ‘nine-day wonder’?

Where are the collective voices as the Government uses its majority to usurp the Constitution in extending the DPP’s term? Where is the outrage about the SSL scandal and the shifting stories that we are told by the Ministry of Finance?

Until the press/journalists in Jamaica can shake “eat a food, invite to cocktail parties” and reported proximity to power, respect will remain at rock bottom.


Somerset, New Jersey