Weakened media helps ‘Brave’

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Perchance it was divine providence that led Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis to lecture the Bahamian media fraternity about not placing murder stories on the front pages of the newspapers. Human beings are drawn to such stories. The media understands this. Davis’ strategy is to protect the Bahamian brand. In the Internet age, muzzling the traditional media will not stop the gruesome stories of murder, rape, incest and armed robberies from leaking out of the country due to the presence of social media platforms.

In addition to protecting the Bahamian brand before the international community, Davis might also be looking to protect his party from the scrutiny previous Free National Movement and Progressive Liberal Party governments have undergone by the media. Looking at the current journalistic landscape, I am not too sure Davis has any legitimate reason to be wary of the press for the reasons I will list below. I believe that the Davis PLP government is benefitting from a weakened media.

This is the worst state the media has been in since the advent of the first Hubert Ingraham FNM government in August 1992. The first two Ingraham administrations opened up the airwaves, which would in turn strengthen the Bahamian democracy. The Ingraham government’s progressive policy of freedom of the press would ultimately be its undoing, as private media outlets that surfaced after 1992 would grill the FNM in the months leading up to the 2002 general election.

The FNM and PLP governments had to contend with columnists Nicki Kelly of The Tribune and The Punch and Oswald Brown. In her Punch column titled Between the Lines, Kelly would rake the last Ingraham government over the coals. The PLP government between 2002 and 2007 and 2012 and 2017 was also heavily criticized by Ms Kelly. Additionally, the Christie administration was taken to task by columnist Sharon Turner, who wrote a column titled According to Me for The Tribune in 2013. Turnquest was also highly critical of then Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis. The Christie administration was also heavily scrutinised by Tribune Editor Eileen Carron and former columnist John Marquis. Marquis was a thorn in the side of the first Christie administration.

About a month into the Davis government’s term, The Punch Editor Ivan Johnson passed away suddenly. About a week after his death, The Punch was shut down. Unlike the previous FNM and PLP governments, this current PLP government has the fortune of not having to deal with The Punch which enjoyed wide circulation throughout New Providence and Grand Bahama. Davis does not have to worry about Carron, Turner, Marquis or Kelly. I cannot point to any columnist today who is as gifted and conversant as Kelly and Turner. I cannot point to any journalist today who is as bold, controversial and daring as Ivan Johnson. It would appear that Kelly, Carron and Marquis are all retired. Turner seems to have moved on to other endeavors, much to the relief of the current administration. Their departures have weakened the media. Again, I cannot stress how fortunate Davis is in light of a weakened media.



Grand Bahama

February 14, 2024.


truetruebahamian 5 months ago

Well reasoned well presented. Thank you.

trueBahamian 5 months ago

Sounds like an old saying is appropriate here, "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing".

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