In a stunning admission of an elitist intent to repress the rights of citizens to publicly communicate with each other, Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley is calling for regulation of internet blogs and call-in programmes.
As reported in The Nation News (link here), the Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados is calling for changes to our system of government – saying that call-in shows “will continue to predominate” and that internet blogs “marginalize…parliaments and cause disrespect (for the rule of law and institutions that keep our society safe,)”…
“For in the absence of that reform,” she said, “entities such as the call-in programmes – which have no accountability to anyone and no modalities to be able to ensure that there is transparency, or that there is indeed informed discussion – will continue to predominate.”
She spoke too, of “blogs” – online postings of individuals’ views and comments to which surfers of the Internet can respond – which, because of the technology, could not be regulated.
“[Blogs] will marginalise our existence as parliaments and will cause disrespect, not just for the rule of law, but for the institutions that are required to keep our societies safe,” she said.
How Dare Those Uppity Citizens Not Know Their Place!
The Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados says that fear of libel and defamatory legal action is not enough “accountability” for citizens. Nope, she wants changes to our system of government that would give parliamentarians some real legal teeth to deal with people who don’t conform to her definition of “informed criticism”.
Miss Mottley obviously wants to keep those darn free-speaking citizens cowering in their proper place. No free-speech on call-in shows or posting on the internet unless the content is pre-approved…
“But you cannot continue unless you have basic standards of accountability,” she noted, “and so far, that has been driven only by the avoidance of libel and defamatory action as opposed to the requirement for informed criticism, and in the same way that parliaments need researchers, call-in programmes should have assistants who can do the research so that there can be informed debate.”
Mottley submitted that in this system of democracy which often has to respond to the existing culture, people would not respond well to denial of access or censorship.
“But it therefore means that the obligations on the Press, in terms of ensuring that it has the systems in place to strengthen what they do and make them more accountable, are greater.”
Let’s Talk About Accountability and Transparency, Deputy Prime Minister!
Could it be that Miss Mottley is upset that our Barbados Free Press blog has been calling for transparency and accountability for the Government of Barbados?
How dare we mention that in 12 years of power, the Mia Mottley – Owen Arthur Government has failed to institute Conflict of Interest Laws and make themselves accountable! They promised to do so in 1976! (BFP story here and here)
How dare we mention that unlike Trinidad & Tobago, the Auditor General of Barbados does not publish the Annual Report on the internet and also demands that Barbados citizens provide their names before being allowed to see the Annual Report! (BFP story here)
How dare we ask who profits from Government Land Expropriations and why everything is so secret! How dare we ask how it is that the government takes private land and then a government minister ends up living on it! (BFP story here and here)
How dare we ask that attendance records for Members of Parliament be published! How dare we ask that transcripts of debates be published for all to see! (BFP story here)
How dare we point out that the Prime Minister told a meeting that his party members must stop using their political offices and connections for “personal material gain”! (BFP story here)
How dare we ask what happened at an unusual private meeting between a water park developer and the Prime Minister and whether any written agreement was signed! (BFP story here)
How dare we point out that the Barbados Police Force transfers Barbados citizens’ personal information to foreign police without rules or oversight! (BFP story here)
How dare we ask why the Ministry of the Environment hasn’t laid a single illegal dumping charge in twelve years! (BFP story here)
How dare we mention that raw sewage is flowing ankle-deep from a Government facility onto one of our most famous beaches! (BFP story here)
How dare we ask how much government money was paid to Mia Mottley’s friend for “consulting services” and why there is no public transparency! (BFP story here)
Mottley Government’s View Of Citizen Rights – Emulate Castro?
How dare we point out that the Mia Mottley – Owen Arthur Government has been cozing up to a despot like Fidel Castro, and that the actions of the PM went beyond acceptable diplomacy! (BFP story here and here)
How dare we, Miss Mottley?
How Dare You!
July 20, 2006 Update: Attempted Libel Chill – Barbados Free Press Will Not Be Intimidated
July 20, 2006: Barbados Labour Party Blog Stands Behind Mottley!