World Attention On Barbados Journalist Arrests


Harvard Law School’s Global Voices, Reuters, Taking Interest In The Threat To Journalistic Freedom In Barbados

The Global Voices website at Harvard Law School receives millions of visitors each day and provides information and stories to major media around the world in conjunction with Reuters News.

Today they published a feature article on the arrests of Barbados journalists Cherie Pitt and Jimmy Gittens – where they quoted from many Barbados news sources and blogs including The Nation, Barbados Underground, Barbados Free Press, Boyce Voice and the Bajan Dream Project.

Global Voices also quoted from the call-to-arms letter put out by Barbados journalist Amanda Lynch-Foster – who had for some reason earlier attempted to have Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground “unpublish” her open letter sent out to Caribbean media “professionals”. Apparently she was upset that her words appeared on (spit on the ground) blogs!

Ms. Lynch-Foster’s desire to retain the old definition of “media” and to restrict her communication to “media professionals” is an interesting contrast to Reuters’ formal relationship with Global Voices. Reuters realises that carefully embracing bloggers and the new media as a worthwhile source of information and stories is the future – or even the present of cutting-edge quality news reporting.

At BFP we found it interesting that Ms. Lynch-Foster believed she could successfully issue a recall for something posted on the internet, and also that she rejected the assistance and support of the blogging community who, after all, are nothing more than ordinary citizens!

Ms. Lynch-Foster should stop sticking her nose so high in the air and re-examine her position.

Freedom of the press in Barbados will not be won by a cloistered group of media elites who are usually afraid to publish the truth anyway. Frankly, the eunuchs of the so-called “professional” Barbados media let Commissioner Dottin and the police bullies get away with what they did for the past 18 months.

Lynch-Foster’s position that this is a fight for “media professionals” only is just about the stupidist, elitist position I’ve seen anyone adopt in a long time.

Freedom of the Press in Barbados will only be won by the “professional” news media and the public standing shoulder to shoulder to oppose the abuse of journalists by the police and government.

And yes, Ms. Lynch-Foster, that includes your fellow citizens who blog too.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Caribbean Media, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, News Media

26 responses to “World Attention On Barbados Journalist Arrests

  1. “eunichs” is spelt “eunuchs”….


    BFP says,

    Thanks SG. I’ll fix it. Gosh I wish we were professional journalists. I wish my spellling chequer worked. 😉

    In seriousness though, can you imagine what a real journalist would have been able to achieve with this blog in three years? So much more than we have. Where are they? Where is their courage?

  2. I will be crucified for this, but I feel it’s worth it, here goes – the “BAJ” are such hypocrites – choopse!

    I kinda hate to say this, but in some ways, journalists themselves are 2 blame… You act like ghouls in an accident, who dead? Got a picture? Also – who get charged? Ppl get CHARGED not INDICTED nor CONVICTED, do we have same alacrity when same body is EXONERATED?

    When I send a release on what SSA do as a good deed ya can’t be bothered, but if Mangrove fall short or Greenland is hot ticket or men on strike, you wanna bombard my cell from 4:00 am (no lie this has happened)…

    So now the shoe on other foot I have 2 sit back and say “Dah 4 lick Ya”! If u pay attn 2 both de positive and de negative from the get-go, then U wouldn’t be in this bind, huh, as you sow?


    BFP says,

    Hi Ian,

    Ahhhhh…. we forgot to publish your latest press release in all our excitement over the arrests, so we’ll fix that now. Are we correct though that we publish more of them than the mainstream media? Just curious.


  3. me

    Yeah, I went back and read the original BFP post.

    I feel that you are offensively mischaracterising the position expressed by Amanda. She did not say that she opposed her words appearing on a blog- doesn’t she write one?

    She rather said that she opposed words from a private communication being published for public consumption.

    I do think that Barbados in general, including the press but not limited to the press, is excessively elitist.

    However, you’re imitating the lowest form of journalism when you stoop to sensationalist misrepresentation.

    BFP has a responsibility to do better. SHAME ON YOU!

  4. West Side Davie

    Me I disagree with your analysis. Amanda put it on a facebook page to distribute it to Caribbean media professionals. That is hardly a “private” communication! Did she say “Don’t redistribute this” ? No! If anything she was encouraging all media professionals to come forward and support the two arrested journalists.

    How does she know that one or more of the bloggers at BFP and BU aren’t “media professionals”? Every once in a while they slip up and I have my suspicions that some of the bloggers are holding back.

    To post something on a facebook page addressed to the Caribbean media and then say it was private is idiocy!

  5. me

    Hey, there’s room for disagreement.

    I do agree that Amanda erred, in part:
    (1) in not making clear that her message was not for reposting;
    (2) in not remembering that whether or not she had made that clear, that reposting is likely to occur.

    However, that doesn’t refute my original point that BFP is in this engaging in unprofessional, sensationalistic mischaracterisation that is beneath the stated role, goals, and aims of this blog.

    I further think that it is wrong for them to
    (1) OFFER to remove the repost;
    (2) REFUSE to honour their own offer;
    (3) CRITICISE the reposted individual for accepting the offer.

    That’s a shameful sequence, and I expect better from them. If they felt as they did, they shouldn’t have offered. If they offered, they should have honoured their offer.

    And if they know they offered, it’s wrong to criticise Amanda for expecting retractions on the internet.

  6. Adrian Hinds

    Me you are wrong on all counts. Amanda Double Barrel name clearly stated that she acknowledge the intent, what she did not like was the METHOD. A method which she referred to as Duplicitious, in other words that it was deceitful and deceptive for BFP to give the impression implicit or implied that She Amanda personally sent that letter to BFP. That is a fair position on her part, although if i where her and had really intended for BFP to remove the posting, I would not have used such strong language, as such does not compel people to do what you ask of them. BFP corrected the implied expression by way of a disclaimer and there was nothing more to be done. Taking it down was not and should never have been an option. Which is what Amanda double surname demanded.

  7. Actually, BFP runs my releases more than the media does, LOL

  8. Marcus Not Signed In

    The great thing about a blog is that when we make an honest mistake or rub somebody the wrong way, or publish an inaccuracy it can be corrected fairly soon and presented to the same readers.

    Our fact-checkers are our readership and they hold us to a high standard – much higher and much more immediate than they hold the Nation to – because they are able to.

    And why are readers of Barbados Free Press able to publish critical comments on our blog? Because we let them.

    The Nation could do the same thing if it wanted to… or had the courage to let readers comment on each story.

    Can you imagine if the Nation ran in a blog format where readers were invited to comment upon, fact check and take apart every story they publish!

    Wuhloss! They couldn’t do it. The editor would commit suicide in a few days. 😉

    Readers of Barbados Free Press know that they are free to seriously disagree with us and we’ll leave their comments up for all to see. When we eat gull, we do it in public and we leave the feathers on the blog.

    When Cliverton asked “digital” to just say the word if she wanted the article removed, several readers opposed the move. So did I.

    So the article that was already in the public domain before we published it will stay up – at BFP as well as Global Voices/Reuters and probably Barbados Underground where it is also published.

    We have clarified that the author says she did not send it to us and that will have to do.

    Now, how about the Nation and Barbados Advocate providing readers with the chance to comment upon and fact-check every article they publish online?


  9. Bajan Dismay

    You have to excuse Lynch-Foster and the folks at the Nation re attitudes to Blogs … they are not yet in the age of modernity or enlightenment.

  10. Barbados the Beautiful

    The shame in all this is that Lynch-Foster thinks that freedom of the press belongs to reporters. That is just not so because it belongs to the people.

    The mistake she and other Barbados reporters continue to make is not chasing up a story and letting it be told. Her attempt to pull it back is a sad day for Barbados. Why did she do that? Does she fear repercussions like more reporters beaten up by police when they getting a story?

    A real reporter will get the story out and then report on any efforts by anyone to try to stop her from printing it. That is the only true freedom of the press.

    Now what we need is a true report of what happens in Court. This will not happen in Barbados because police squash freedom of us to know time and again,

  11. Sargeant

    @ Me
    She rather said that she opposed words from a private communication being published for public consumption
    The above has already been addressed by West Side Davie but let me add my two cents. No communication posted on Facebook is considered PRIVATE. In North America young people are encouraged not to post any compromising photos or scurrilous information on Facebook lest it comes back to bite them in the butt when potential employers check up on them. To post something on Facebook and then say it was private is disingenuous at best and duplicitous at worse

  12. Marcus Not Signed In

    I note with great interest and no little amusement that the Nation is not describing the two arrested freelance journalists as “journalists”.

    According to the Nation, Cherie Pitt and Jimmy Gittens are “freelance media workers”.

    The Nation is caught by their actions and prejudices in a self-defeating circle…

    1/ The two are freelancers, not “regular” employees of the Nation.

    2/ The regular media including the Nation has used their materials before… thus they could be called “professional journalists” if the test is “Has the regular media used and paid for their materials?”

    3/ The Nation doesn’t want to call them “journalists” because to do so would be to admit that other than full-time employees are “real” journalists and that might start some soul searching about who is a “real” journalist and who is not. (ie: One who regularly gathers and reports the news and receives any money at all for it might have to be called a “professional journalist”… ie someone like Ian Bourne)

    4/ The Nation wants to support their freelancers (at least one of whom is related to a full time Nation journalist) – but they just can’t bring themselves to describe the two arrested journalists as “journalists”.

    This us of the term “freelance media worker” is a political decision by the Nation and a betrayal of Cherie Pitt and Jimmy Gittens.

    The Nation is trying to suck and blow at the same time, but many folks are becoming critical of this strategy by the Nation executive management.

  13. Arthur

    Good point, Marcus. Let’s see how far the Nation would allow their journalists to go with a serious association that challenges them.

  14. Utterly Confused

    Cherie Pitt is a photographer, Jimmy Gittens is a videographer – ergo “media workers”. ‘Journalism’ is more than snapping photos or taking videos and the practitioners of such are called journalists, in the same way that orderlies are ‘medical workers’ but not ‘doctors’ in their own right. Marcus, you seem ideologically driven and passionate, which is terrifying because you are dead wrong and almost psychotic in your line of thinking.

  15. J

    Media workers is a correct description
    Photo-journalists would also be a correct description


    BFP says…

    We just had a board meeting at Barbados Free Press. Henceforth, all Nation print journalists and photo journalists will be referred to as “media workers” by this blog.


  16. Juris

    What’s the difference? And Jimmie works mainly for CBC, doesn’t he?

  17. Marcus Not Signed In

    Utterly Confused has chosen an excellent name because it accurately describes them perfectly.

    I would love to have Utterly Confused define in detail when “someone with a camera” becomes a “photographer” and when they become a “journalist” ???

    Please define the various criteria by which you would arrive at a person’s classification. I want to know why you put these two media workers into one class and not the other.

  18. J

    Adrian Hinds wrote “Amanda Double Barrel name”

    Is this the same Adrian Hinds who spent so much time on this blog supporting Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States?

    You were WRONG on that issue Adrian.

    You are WRONG on this one.

    You son of no man are you jealous because Amanda’s parents loved her enough to give her both of their names?

  19. Adrian Hinds

    J Says:
    Adrian Hinds wrote “Amanda Double Barrel name”

    Is this the same Adrian Hinds who spent so much time on this blog supporting Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States?

    You were WRONG on that issue Adrian.

    You are WRONG on this one.

    You son of no man are you jealous because Amanda’s parents loved her enough to give her both of their names?


    J, You continue to provide commic relief for me with your contributions. Here is a little secrete, if I am to give any merit to your comments, you gine got tuh do lil bettuh than just telling me I am wrong.

    ….Supporting Sarah Palin was an Issue???? for me??? and i was wrong to support her???? I don’t think so, and don’t tell me you think so, cause um is more likely that you “feel” so, not think! …and how does this compare to Amanda double surname? She does have a double surname doesn’t she? what is the problem? I am indeed the son of a man, I am the proud product of a marital union that lasted for over 50 years until death they departed. A union that you may not have had any good experience with?

  20. J

    Adrian Hinds wrote “A union that you may not have had any good experience with?”

    This is one time that you are right.

    Indeed I did not commit adultery with either of your parents. Or as you so quaintly put it “a union that you may not have had any good experience with”

  21. Adrian Hinds

    ha ha ha ha I am not perfect.

    How about responding to the correction and what i had intended?

    A kind of union (marital) that you may not have had personal experience with!

  22. Lady Anon

    Given the various descriptions of what a “journalist” is, I would then propose that the “journalists” at the Nation, the Advocate, CBC and Starcom be renamed “media workers” because they do not fulfil the criteria.

    Did you see the blistering comment in today’s Sun by Fae Ellington? (reproduced here)


    RegionalPress told: Improve skills

    Date December 28, 2008

    GEORGETOWN – Caribbean journalists need to improve their craft to meet the demands of an evolving world, says a veteran media practitioner.

    Well-known Jamaican media personality and lecturer Fae Ellington told a gathering of Guyanese journalists here this week that they, along with their peers across the region, have a responsibility to improve their command of the English language and to continuously educate themselves, if they are to become critical thinkers and thus better journalists.

    The communications lecturer at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication said having done that, journalists, in this world of emerging technology, would be able to lobby their governments in the region to make new media products more accessible to the larger population that do not have access to the technologies.

    She also said it was imperative that practitioners change the old “mindset”.

    “It is critical that we look for solutions outside of the box. We need to be innovative,” Ellington said, adding that “speech was music with rhythm. Find it”.

    Ellington, who has been in the media business for more than three decades, urged journalists to improve their command of English on all fronts.

    “Contrary to a long-held popular belief, Caribbean media practitioners have a lot to learn about speaking English; our oral skills are at best mediocre,” Ellington said.

    She said the media landscape afforded great opportunities but warned that if media practitioners did not have the competitive edge they would remain in the cocoon of local media with little or no global reach.

    “This is the time to market yourself, your culture, your country and your region. However, this will not happen if we do not address the fundamentals.”

    She also implored journalists to operate with a spirit of cooperation even as they competed against each other.

  23. Adrian Hinds

    Last night i read the above article, the following snippet remained with me
    “Contrary to a long-held popular belief, Caribbean media practitioners have a lot to learn about speaking English; our oral skills are at best mediocre,” Ellington said.

    —-And then i read the following—-

  24. alley-vendor

    i think the journalist got what they deserve, how many times do we have positive event ,going on and no journalist there,how many accidents+houase fires take place,and you either see a burnt out shell(house) or nothing at all,they have no backbone,they always bigging up the police.

  25. J


    Drunken brawls happen in every city of the world.

    Here is the recipe for a drunken brawl.

    Add together too much alcohol + some fools = murder and mayhem.

  26. J

    Dear Adrian you wrote “How about responding to the correction and what i had intended?”

    My HUSBAND won’t LET me talk to you anymore.