Please don’t misunderstand our continuing criticism of The Nation News, folks. We are very pleased that Political Correspondent Albert Brandford has finally been able to slide the words “Freedom Of Information Law” past his censors /editors, but it is only a start and won’t go anyplace unless Barbadians keep up the pressure on both the news media and the government.
The Nation News article Time We Had Freedom Of Info Law uses a recent Commonwealth Parliamentary Association call for Freedom of Information (FOI) laws to raise the subject and point out that Barbados lacks laws that allow the public to access information necessary to hold government accountable. Freedom of Information laws are a necessary and important check and balance in any free society (which is the big reason why Prime Minister Owen Arthur says that Barbados doesn’t need FOI or Integrity legislation).
BLP – Barbados Labour Party – Promised Freedom Of Information Laws In 1986
After two decades and 12 years in power, the BLP has deliberately chosen NOT to introduce Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation – despite promising in 1986 to introduce Freedom Of Information.
Does Thompson’s Silence Mean DLP Is Waiting For Turn At The Piggies Trough?
Although DLP Opposition Leader David Thompson mouthed some nice words about Integrity Legislation a couple of months ago, (BFP article here) we haven’t heard anything further from the DLP on the issue. The governing BLP has been exposed for a long time over any number of integrity scandals, yet Thompson and the DLP have failed to hammer home at these weaknesses. Talk at the standpipe is that Thompson either fears to talk about integrity because of his own past or that the DLP smell a chance at the trough themselves and they don’t want to ruin the big feed.
Cowardly Barbados Media Needs To Find Courage – And To Remember Their Public Duty
Barbadians know that their country is ill-served by a cowardly news media that long ago surrendered to the ruling Barbados Labour Party and the government. If the Barbados media is to have any hope of regaining the respect of the public, it must find the courage to once again become the voice of the people. The Barbados media sold out yesterday, but it doesn’t mean that it has to sell out tomorrow.
The Nation News Apologizes For Mentioning Freedom Of Information Laws
While the mere mentioning of Freedom Of Information laws is a big step for the Nation News, they almost apologize for doing so. The article ends with a weak crawl-on-the-knees, oatmeal-in-the-mouth finale of…
“Maybe the way forward could be a sensitive approach towards balancing the proscriptions of the Official Secrets Act with meeting the fundamental human right of access to information.”
Barbados Media Needs To Find Some Cojones and Get Specific
We’ve got news for the Barbados media – maybe “the way forward” is for supposedly professional journalists to start asking some real questions of the government and then refuse to take the drivel that they usually find acceptable as an answer.
The media has let the government ignore a GEMS accounting for years. They say nothing about the overnight wealth creation of some government Ministers. They say nothing when government issues purchase orders worth tens of millions of dollars without a tender. When BFP revealed that Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke was living in a house built on expropriated land, Barbados media ignored it. British or American journalists would have been camping on his doorstep asking for disclosure, but not one word was heard from the cowardly Barbados media.
Here’s A Story Of Government Corruption All Laid Out For The Barbados Media
The current milque-toast Freedom of Information article in The Nation News is only a start. Now let’s see if the editors and owners have the courage to demand that the government provide specific answers to specific questions. Let’s see if any journalists appear at the Land Registry and demand to see certain documents. The government party has foolishly posted selected confidential government documents online at it’s BLP Blog. Let’s see The Nation News launch a lawsuit to gain access to the the entire file OR AT LEAST COVER THE STORY THAT THE GOVERNMENT POSTED CONFIDENTIAL FINANCE MINISTRY DOCUMENTS ON IT’S OWN BLOG!
Cover that story, Barbados Advocate and Nation News – or remain before the public in 2007 as the pathetic bunch of sold-out losers that you were all last year.
(And if our professional journalists need some help in discovering that the Government Of Barbados posted confidential government documents on it’s own BLP Blog – here is a screen capture and the link …)