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Reporter ban a threat to free press

EDITOR, The Tribune. 

Freedom of the Press in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is threatened when a journalist, because of how he questioned a government official, is banned from attending press conferences at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Nassau Guardian reporter Youri Kemp accused Financial Secretary Simon Wilson of telling lies to the media. Mr Wilson took offence, but if Mr Kemp can produce proof of what was said, that should be the end of the matter.

There is no good and proper way to say a lie is a lie, except to call it what it is.

For elected members of the House of Assembly the use of the word "liar" is said to be unparliamentary and, in the past, media houses have been sued and made to pay substantial sums for reporting parliamentarians had lied.

However, a press briefing is not the House of Assembly and Simon Wilson is not a parliamentarian. He is a public servant and should be made to answer for any alleged transgressions.

This also renews our call for enacting the Freedom of Information Act, which would allow reporters access to information thus providing them with accurate records when questioning Government officials.

The Press Club believes that a free and independent press is a key mechanism of a functioning, healthy democracy.

ANTHONY CAPRON

President, The Bahamas Press Club

June 3, 2024. 

Comments

IslandWarrior 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Brother Capron, the Bahamas is not a true country and never was. However, it could be if a few strong men commit themselves to manage this little piece of paradise properly.

trueBahamian 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ummmm. Interesting! I think the reporter and the Financial Secretary should be penalized here. The reporter was provoking the Financial Secretary. There are more professional, diplomatic ways of asking the same question without outright calling the Financial Secretary a liar. On the other hand, the Financial Secretary, as a professional should not try to turn a press attack into a street brawl. Understandably, a lot of people would take offense to being called a liar. However, as the number 2 person (the main non-politician) in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Wilson's behavior should have drawn some sort of punishment. There should have been an official statement by the government addressing his reaction. We can not talk to young men about conflict resolution and anger management and then pretend that Mr. Wilson's behavior is fine.

moncurcool 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Letter writer is correct. Spot on.

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