Accusations will always fly when people report in what others say. In the first instance, the recording of the message is distorted and once reported often enough the final message is often far removed from the original. In communication studies there is a basic test. A source disseminates a message to a second party, who in turn is asked to repeat that message to a third party and so on.
What actually happens is that the first recipients, having received the message, would paraphrase it. What he passes on is a message that he believes is his interpretation of the original one. There was a lot of this in the diplomatic exchanges as we now discover by way of the whistleblower group, WikiLeaks.
For its part, whatever the envoy disseminates to Washington is there in the cables. The recipient must now decipher these cables. In so doing there could be misinterpretations. However, what are being fed to the public are the actual cables that originated with the envoys. The reader is left with no doubt about what the envoy intended.
But what about the source of the information? We have seen cables of people reporting to diplomats of their findings. The one that made the most waves recently focused on meetings between the diplomats and President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The issue surrounded the appointment of Henry Greene as Police Commissioner. From the disclosures, one can readily understand why the American embassy was quick to inform President Jagdeo that the embassy harboured no ill will against Guyana and that the disclosures should not be taken as anything sinister.
The President, for his part, has tended to ignore the disclosures contained in the leaked cables, at least to those that have been critical of his administration. Even the state-owned Chronicle has not been paying attention to the cables. That newspaper has been studiously ignoring the revelations to the point where the average reader would not have suspected that there was something called WikiLeaks.
But suddenly there is a front page report on a WikiLeaks expose about the Managing Director of Kaieteur News. This would strike anyone as unusual especially when there were so many other reports, most of them juicier and almost of them critical of the operations of the government. There are also WikiLeaks reports about other countries and governments.
We may have seen the foreign news reports on these within the pages of these very papers. The publications must have been a filler intended to be of little interest to the public. This is why the publication on the front page of one of the WikiLeaks reports provided something of a shock. It was as if the newspaper was breaking new grounds.
The readers, whoever happen to browse the Chronicle, expected to see the kind of media frenzy over the WikiLeaks reports on Guyana. It turned out that the centre of the report is a man of particular interest to the government. He happened to have launched a campaign against corruption in Government and he began examining contracts, all of which seem to be overpriced. It turned out that the screaming headlines were larger than the story which was basically a report of some hearsay and suspicions.
The Chronicle is controlled by President Jagdeo. Then there is Guyana Times which is owned by President Jagdeo. He has been recruiting people, offering them pay packages and even ordering their dismissal. This little known newspaper had a monstrous front page headline on the same man, Glenn Lall, but no story.
Revealing was the suggestion that the man had his finger on the pulse of the underworld and that the newspaper, Kaieteur News, benefited. This was part of the monstrous headlines in the two newspapers.
Any link with the underworld must have come about because at the height of the crime wave the newspaper reported fairly and accurately on the situation. It hid nothing; it distorted nothing.
In the end, the very criminal elements came to trust the newspaper for its accuracy. As a result of this trust, one of the most notorious of them, Rondell Rawlins, called Fine Man, contacted the paper. His was a case of a troubled man who wanted to reach out to someone and the only people he sought were the Managing Director and Editor of Kaieteur News.
Because of this contact he never killed another woman and child after the Lusignan massacre. He had promised after the two men berated him for that brutal killing in Lusignan.
People who want to surrender to the police seek out the newspaper and request the presence of the reporters; even Government officials have used the paper to send messages to suspected criminals. And this is because the reporters had no reservation of going anywhere to follow a story. And news spreads.
The suggestion that the Managing Director on the pulse of the underworld might have been inaccurate. The newspaper was a different kettle of fish.
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