Gov’t Attempting To Influence Media Reporting
Will media representatives in Nassau confirm that they were recently called to a meeting by the highest Ministers of the Cabinet to speak to them about the news that they report, to advise the press of their displeasure with their news reports about the government, and to “encourage” them to begin to report “more positive news” about the government?
In a democracy, the travesty of this is two-fold: #1 – the government attempting to control the press and influence what it reports, and #2 – the press persons who went to the meeting at Cabinet have kept quiet about what the government did and said to them.
In a democracy, no press agency should keep from the public news of such a reprehensible move by the government – because in a democracy freedom of the press is absolutely essential and fundamental.
The government already has Bahamas Information Services (BIS), the agency created by an Act of Parliament back in 1974 to serve as the State’s public relations department. It also has the country’s State-funded broadcaster, ZNS.
For the government at the Cabinet level to summon private media houses in an attempt to influence their reporting is an outrage in a democracy, and shows how dangerously far the Executive is willing to go to try to influence and/or control what information the public receives about the actions of the government elected by the Bahamian people.
The government doing what it did and the participating media representatives remaining silent about the same is very, very serious; and begs the question of what else the government is doing or plans to do to the media, the Public Service or the public at large in an attempt to control the dissemination of information about the people’s business.