Journalists Roughed Up By Police? Barbados Advocate Says No Big Deal – They Got What They Deserved
The current editorial in the Barbados Advocate argues that whenever the police give anyone an order – that order should be complied with.
Nothing about whether the order is legal or not.
Nothing about citizens’ rights.
Nothing about police exceeding authority or using unnecessary force.
Nothing about journalistic rights, the public’s right to know.
Nothing about transparency, accountability.
Nothing about a free media being the guardian of democracy.
Nothing about why THIS TIME journalists were dragged from the hospital and OUTSIDE the hospital when they have covered hundreds of stories from the QEH in the past.
Nothing about why just the week before journalists were happily accommodated by the hospital when it was politically expedient for them to cover a certain story.
Are We Surprised?
Not a bit…
From the Barbados Advocate… a paper that is fully accustomed to a slave’s mentality…
Just Shadow, No Substance … No Exemption Under Law
IN the excitement following the recent confrontation between police and civilians, it was all too easy to lose sight of where individual rights may sometimes need to be tempered with deference to law enforcement. It seems similarly easy to confuse such power as is vested in parliamentary positions with what may be conferred on persons outside that august body or what they are entitled to claim.
Excessive excitement and confusion are clearly in play when one states or implies that confrontation involving the constabulary and Press freedom may be remedied by amendment to a Freedom of Information Act. We see no basis for agreeing with that notion.
How does the specific incident become an issue for Government? If a police officer makes an order and a member of the public disobeys it, how does that become a concern for the Freedom of Information Act?
Is that Act going to say that when a police officer gives an order to someone engaged in a particular profession, that person is exempt, unlike other citizens, from complying with the order?
Freedom of information means liberalising access to official records. It has nothing to do with jettisoning the principle of equality before the law.
Priority on safety, health
Where there is a mishap resulting in injury even to a single person, priority must be given to safety and health. Logically, therefore, there would be that much greater urgency in a mass casualty event to prioritise protection and health services for the victims.
When told by a uniformed officer, say, in Broad Street, not to act in a particular way, does the ordinary citizen have a right to ignore that instruction?
Without reflecting on any specific incident, we are obliged to state in a general way that one of the necessary incidents of the rule of law is to obey the laws, and if a police officer says not to do a particular thing, one is obliged to follow that command.
One may thereafter challenge the order through an appropriate channel, but disobeying the officer’s instruction raises the possibility of chaos a free-for-all. The police officer says one thing, the citizen does the opposite. Our heart is with anyone who feels unfairly treated, but rules are made to be followed, whether one agrees with them or they appear ill-conceived. Without them, the system of governance will break down.
… read the editorial here before the Barbados Advocate removes all trace of their stories as they normally do.