Posts tagged ‘Journalism’

November 13, 2013

Wesley Gibbings – General Secretary Association of Caribbean Media Workers Pt 1

Aired November 13, 2013 on ieTV. Wesley speaks about threats to journalism and journalists in the Caribbean and the role of journalists versus the role of government.

Advertisements
February 9, 2011

Anderson Cooper tells it like it is on 360

When Anderson Cooper gets passionate he transforms from being an excellent journalist into something much more. As was the case with his Katrina coverage he lets his feelings show sometimes and that makes for powerful television. Last night he aimed his guns at Mubarak’s repressive regime.

( embedding has been disabled so just click through to see it on YouTube.

And for anyone who didn’t see Anderson getting angry during Katrina coverage  here is an example:

February 4, 2011

Shooting the messenger

Today was not a good day in Egypt for either the current regime and its credibility or for journalists who seek to tell the story of what is happening.

Based on coverage online and traditional media such as Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC, ABC, And CNN-IBN it is fairly safe to say that the regime has decided that attacking journalists and  trying to cut off media coverage of what has been happening is the best way to achieve their objectives.  Journalists, like me, are being detained, beaten up and generally stopped from doing our job. The police are searching for us and attempting to intimidate us into being silent. Just to make sure it works they are also  closing down bureaus and confiscating cameras and equipment as they did with the BBC today. Al Arabiya had its staff brutalized and bloodied.  Anderson Cooper had his head punched yesterday and today (according to his Twitter feed) had his car windows smashed in. This evening he had to do his program from a sealed off hotel room.

Al Jazeera, the hero of this revolution,which  has been banned from Egypt, and  told its bureau had to  close down,  had four of its journalists held today. If this is what Mubarak wants to show the world –  then he has achieved  a  perfect picture of what life under Mubarak means. In their usual ‘screw you’ manner Al Jazeera has continued their coverage and will, no doubt, be back live in Cairo tomorrow.

There is no more live footage of what is happening in central Cairo because Mubarak and his goons have made it so. Remember  Tiananmen Square where the man stood in front of the tank and  stopped – the next step was to remove the media and then exact carnage on protesters.  Even when when we are disliked  the media keeps governments honest. That is what we do at best. In most democracies we don’t have to fear for our lives but Egypt, just in case anyone didn’t know it, is NOT a democracy.

Perhaps the most telling thing today was  that Nile TV reporter, Shahira Amin, who has been with the station since 1989  decided that enough was enough and chucked her job and joined her people in the square. I hope she is safe.

Those of us who demand human rights in other areas are familiar with the fact that we have to deal with being targeted by governments. Mubarak may well end up destroying protests but he will be be doomed regardless. The world has seen his evil and brutality.  The world and the people of Egypt have seen his methods and have seen how desperate he is not to see those methods exposed to the light of day.

When you target journalists and shut down the internet you show only that you operate best in darkness.  Most things don’t survive in darkness- and they shouldn’t.

To my colleagues in the mainstream media forced to risk their lives to cover the story – I salute you – I only wish I were there to tell the story with you.

( Thanks to Eric in NC for checking my post written in a state of extreme anger)

July 3, 2010

The period before and after an election is is always the most exciting and challenging for journalists. After the recent election here in T&T it was fascinating looking at many of the younger reporters struggling to maintain their journalistic balance. I suppose at times like those it can be useful to have someone like me who has been around the block a few times to help them understand the dangers of charged words and of story placement in a newscast. Journalists have political views just like everyone else but the trick for us is being able to mouth off our views to our friends but not let that interfere with how we do our job. It surprised me also that many younger journalists understood the concepts fairly easily while some others who should have known better were less concerned about the appearance of balance.
Now we are faced with the post-election period in which a largely unpopular government was voted out in a landslide. Naturally, many of the journalists in the country are quite happy with the turn of events but that has also resulted in a problem. One thing that we as journalists cannot ever do is fawn over public  officials and cut them too much slack. I have been seeing a lot of that lately. Part of the problem is the fact that this government has been very friendly and open with the media so far. The picture at the top of this entry is of the previously ultra-secret Prime Minister’s residence which I was actually able to tour on Thursday along with other members of the media. Now that may have been motivated by a desire to show the excess of the previous PM who commissioned it and lived in it but whatever the reason it was opened up for the public to see. Things like that are standard in developed countries and journalists take them for granted but here it seems to make some journalists feel beholden to the administration. Old cynics like me take it for what it is but it seems to make the less experienced feel embraced and all warm and fuzzy.
Thus far I can say that the People’s Partnership has done a good job of being more open to the media than the previous one which approached us as if we were lepers with halitosis. It was a rare day that I managed to snag an interview with a PNM minister ( with a few rare exceptions like Conrad Enill who always came when I asked) and of course they all wanted to be on just before the election. Ironically, the only time the Information Minister ever agreed to come on my programme was right before the election – he lost his seat. Thus far I have had several of the new ministers on including a couple of first interviews in the local media such as Minister Mary King ( in her office no less) but that may be because I have been interviewing these guys in other capacities for years. I should have good reason to cut them a lot of slack but I can’t and I suspect they would lose any respect they might have for me if I did.
As journalists in a small and developing country we need to look at the new government with a critical eye so we can, in the words of Anderson Cooper, keep them honest ( which presumes they were in the first place). We have seen the good things like the PM wading into flood waters, the accessibility to the media, the choosing of a new Commissioner of Police and other good signs but there are things that bother me. Time now for a handy point  list of a few of my concerns:

  • Should the PM have gone back of her promise to move into the PM’s fancy residence when she vowed she would not move into the “Palace”?
  • While opening up the Priority Bus Route to regular traffic may be a good experiment ( and I have said so for more than a decade) how can the Works Minister do that without changing the legislation? What are they going to charge people who have fewer than 3 people in the car with? Surely you can’t just change codified rules on the fly.
  • The Life Fund to pay for overseas operations for kids is surely a good idea but shouldn’t a doctor be part of the process? I have been informed the transverse myelitis – which one of the kids who got $620,000 for her treatment has- was caused by a viral infection and she needs some rehab work to get her walking again. Why were we told she needed an operation? And if she needs physical therapy why does it require a Rolls Royce treatment centre when there are excellent ones in Miami, the UK and Canada? Also, why was the cheque made out to her family when it should have been made out to the institution?

There are many other questions but I just hope the media do what we are supposed to do and ask questions. If the public does not like us for that then so be it. One day they will thank us for it. It took us far too long to ask questions of the previous administration.