Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 17, 2023 Features / Columnists, News, Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News- The moral crisis facing the nation deepens. It appears that we speak out about what is right and what is wrong only when it is convenient for us to do so and we are increasingly refusing to be consistent when it comes to political morality.
The election debacle of 2020 highlighted the moral rift within our society. Too many persons, including some prominent persons within the media, were prepared to turn a blind eye to the blatant attempt to rig the 2020 elections.
Too many experienced media personnel did what their predecessors did between 1968 and 199. They ignored electoral fraud. Some even went as far as seeking to propagate narratives used to justify the electoral rigging.
Two recent incidents indicate that nothing has changed. The first was last Sunday’s election of the Guyana Press Association (GPA).
The second was the comments on the social media blog of one of Guyana’s leading media personalities, concerning the end of the tour of the outgoing United States Ambassador to Guyana.
The election of the executive of the Guyana Press Association was marred by controversy. One of the major areas of contention was the failure of the GPA to make public the list of persons who were eligible to vote.
The GPA said that it was not going to do so in order because some of its members wanted their membership to be kept confidential. That was a cock-and-bull explanation because their names and participation in the poll would have been made public in any event on the day of the election.
This is the same GPA that forms part of the press in Guyana that has an obligation to exercise oversight over government.
Yet, the GPA did not see how the failure to make public the names of the eligible voters would render the election as not being free.
Each prospective candidate has a right to be able to lobby persons to vote for him or her. If only certain persons have access or knowledge of those who are eligible to vote, then these persons have an unfair advantage, one that is sufficient to call into question the freeness of the poll.
Also, the failure to publish or make public the names of the eligible voters means that the list could not be scrutinised to determine whether it was clean. It does not matter that the incumbent won the elections convincingly. What is disconcerting is that members of the Fourth Estate who are supposed to be watchdogs of public and political morality could remain so relatively silent in what was clearly and unfair decision.
When the press in Guyana faces an internal moral crisis, the entire society is threatened. Guyanese paid a high price in the past because of the failure of media professionalism, and that price extended to issues of bread and butter.
If more media operatives did not eschew professionalism, if more had stood up and condemned rigged elections, much of the punishment which citizens endured could have been avoided.
A moral crisis within the media is therefore not simply a private matter; it has public consequences.
And the same problem occurred from 1992 onwards when many persons within the media refused to stand up and to condemn the excesses of the PPP/C government, including its heavy grip on the state media and its attempt to stifle the private media.
Let it be recalled that for the first 10 years of its existence, this newspaper did not receive a single advertisement from the State. Let it also be recalled that one media personality was banned from attending presidential press conferences under the PPP/C.
Let it be recalled that one journalist was sent packing for asking an uncomfortable question to a government Minister. Let it be recalled the damage and destruction that occurred because of the unprofessional actions of certain talk shows hosts following the 1997 general and regional elections. The crisis facing the Guyana Press Association is not only constitutional.
It is a moral crisis, one in which the association’s election is mired in controversy over a simple failure to make public its electoral list, the publication of which may not have altered the result of last Sunday’s elections but which would have lent credibility to the elections.
The second incident concerns comments which were made by many persons on a social media blog concerning the end of the tour of the United States Ambassador.
There were very unkind comments made about the United States Ambassador. And it is not difficult to hazard a guess as to cause of the grouses against the outgoing Ambassador.
The main reason is that persons are annoyed that the United States took a principled stand in condemning the attempt to rig the elections of March 2, 2020 in Guyana.
But the stand taken by the US Ambassador and her country was not only principled, it was the right thing to do – after all is rigging not wrong?
And so, the US Ambassador was subject to all manner of unkind comments. This shows the moral crisis facing our nation.
When it comes to what is right and what is wrong, it amounts to double standards to demand morality only in private relations and exclude it from the public and political spheres.
And for the media – the public watchdog – to find itself complicit in double standards represents a crisis of unimaginable proportions.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.
TT PM closing loopholes, while our VP creating loopholes
May 31, 2023Kaieteur Sports- The Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Karate Association (GMMAKA) has attended The North American Federation of Martial Arts Championship last Saturday, 27th May, 2023 at the Sheraton Hotel,...
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
Kaieteur News- The President has shown the art of compromise in his response to the Mahdia tragedy. The Opposition called... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – The report on May 17, from the World Meteorological Organization, (WMO) that... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]