Real Journalists Have A Sacred Duty To Democracy And To Their Readers
One of the great resources for democracy is a free and strong press with a sense of duty towards preserving recent history as best as it can. When any citizen can easily dig into a newspaper’s archives to follow a story through the years it empowers democracy and puts limits on the bad politicians who would like to re-write history – or to have the populace forget about certain things.
The internet has seen an explosion of citizen empowerment through information access and public discussion. That is what drives Barbados Free Press and other similar websites. The Bajan political thugs who love their own interests more than democracy fear this citizen empowerment.
Mottley And Her Gang Fear Citizen Empowerment
For instance, when Mia Mottley announced that blogs and talk shows should be highly censored because they “marginalized parliament“, what she really revealed was that she feared mass communication that empowers citizens and exposes corrupt and stupid politicians like her.
Similarly, corrupt and inept politicians like Mia and friends continually try to regulate the newspapers on a day to day basis – and also to make the past disappear through destroying or limiting access to the media’s historical archives.
Here in Barbados, crooked politicians love the Barbados Advocate for destroying their own archives, removing online stories after a few weeks and for failing to provide a search engine so that citizens can locate and re-find even recent news stories.
The Nation News at least provides a search engine for it’s online stories, but this only goes back a few years. As well, The Nation News will sometimes dishonestly change stories – presenting one set of facts for island readers of it’s paper editions and a totally different story for international readers of it’s online edition.
There is no excuse for either of these limitations as The Nation News could easily make both it’s online and paper archives available on the web right back to the start. Many newspapers simultaneously publish an online daily edition and archive – and also maintain archives of scanned images of the paper editions.
With a whole terrabyte of storage available for about US$500, there is simply no excuse for a newspaper to not maintain electronic archives of everything – both paper and internet editions.
Real journalists understand that this is about duty to democracy and to readers. Real newspapers consider this duty to be sacred.
Which Brings Us To The Nation News Erasing History
Some of our readers were recently discussing the 2002 incident where whites and asians were kicked out of a Barbados government-sponsored anti-racism conference – for the colour of their skin.
How I remember when David Comissiong and the governmental Pan African Commission defended this racism as being “democratic”. How I remember the government’s failure to stand up to this nonsense…
… but The Nation News has removed all the online news, discussion and opinion stories about this incident.
You can start your research of this racist incident at Index On Censorship (link here), but don’t expect to find the online articles from The Nation News.
Here is the story from Index On Censorship. I don’t think they will mind if we reprint the entire thing.
Do visit their site though folks. It will draw attention to what is happening to the Barbados media.
Do that now please before you read the following story… just visit them for a moment to register the hits…
Index On Censorship
Blacks only at anti-racism conference
Barbados: Durban follow-up meet
An international conference on anti-racism in Barbados called by lobby groups from the African diaspora took the unexpected step of voting to exclude non-black delegates from the conference on its opening day. Index on Censorship reports.
Delegates at an international conference against racism voted to expel non-blacks from the meeting on its opening day in Barbados, arguing that it would be too traumatic for descendants of slaves to discuss slavery in front of them.
About a dozen whites and Asians at the five-day African and African Descendants’ World Conference Against Racism acceded to the vote and walked out without protest. Those expelled included local interpreters and members of non-governmental organisations.
The SAPA-AFP news agency reported that vote to restrict the conference to blacks only was proposed by a 60-strong delegation from Britain on the opening day, October 2. More than 200 approved, including a group of African Americans who live in Israel. About 50 others abstained.
After the vote and the failure of a subsequent vote to overturn it led by Francophone Caribbean and central American delegations, a number of national groups quietly withdrew from the conference proceedings.
Many sought to avoid giving the impression that they had ‘walked out’ from the debate, to prevent further damage to to the image of the event. Among them were members of the Cuban and South African groups.
The conference, an independent follow up to last year’s Durban UN World Conference against Racism will be discussing economic development, decolonisation, judicial reform and reparations.
Senegalese Doudou Diene, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, opposed the exclusion motion. He warned that it could reverse the gains made at the Durban conference and that it would provide ammunition for powerful anti-black groups working to crush the conference’s gains.
Jean Violet Baptiste, representative for the Guyana-based African Cultural and Development Association, said organisers should have made clear that only blacks were welcome: “You can’t have people come all this way and then ask them to leave.”
However Conference chairwoman Jewel Crawford of the US told SAPA-AFP: “There are a number of black people who have been traumatised by white people and they suffered psychologically and emotionally and, as a result of that trauma, some of them did not care to discuss their issues in front of them.”
The prime movers behind the motion were a Black British delegation. The Nation reported Kwaku Bonsu, a London disc jockey and black activist, as accusing local organisers of misleading them about the make-up of the participants.
The nine page registration form asks for and gives extensive details regarding delegates’ special needs and translation requirments but does not indicate that the event was ‘exclusively’ for Africans.
“We told them emphatically that we don’t want to be sitting down with no Europeans or Asians and they assured us that this is an African and African only event and that is why we came here,” he was reported as saying.
David Comissiong, head of conference co-sponsors, the governmental Pan African Commission, accepted that the vote to expel non-Blacks had been done democratically and there was nothing he could do.
“I think it’s very unfortunate; I don’t think it’s an issue that should have arisen at all,” he told the Barbados daily.
“We were given an explanation that in England many of these delegates have had bad experiences with events such as these, where they have had people from other races being involved and they have had bad experiences. So we’re told that that is the background out of which their position emerged.”
The dispute overshadowed efforts to move on the issues raised at Durban, including a plan by black activists to sue France for making Haiti pay millions of francs for recognition of its independence in 1838, 33 years after Haitians defeated Napoleon’s army in the first and only successful slave revolt against a colonial power.
The exclusion of Asians as well as whites at a conference co-sponsored by the Barbados government could also raise domestic issues. People of European and Asian descent comprise some 60 to 70,000 of the country’s population of 265,000.
In a sharp commentary for the Barbados Nation Ella Drummond-Hoyos noted: “The Government of Barbados is obliged to guarantee all Barbadians the freedom to associate under the constitution. If it funded a conference with racist motives, someone must account.”
Barbados Nation report of the opening day’s vote; its coverage of the failed attempt to overturn it by Francophone Caribbean central American states; the Barbados government’s anger at the proceedings; the closing day’s coverage and an opinion piece by Ella Drummond-Hoya.
SAPA-AFP report via the South African Mail Guardian.
The Black World Today website previews the conference.
Conference advance notice.