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When rumours become news

Sunday, March 31 2013

THE EDITOR: The role and functions of the Trinidad and Tobago Publishing Association in conjunction with the Media Complaints Council must play a more crucial role as oversight bodies in the world of print media especially given our current realities.

I liken certain, not all, elements in the media to the verse from Romans: “Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips” in how they have perfected the art of primal mode behaviour. We are fortunate to have some outstanding journalists, reporters and media personnel who could inspire those who leave a lot to be desired.

Without even verifying assumptions and rumours, certain media personnel have decided data, facts and evidence are obsolete in stories that might be of high public interests. Most recently it was stated in the media that a senior cabinet minister was being investigated by the Integrity Commission for serious financial impropriety in relation to state funds and as a result of the probe, the matter was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The story held no veracity as evidenced by the release from the Office of the Integrity Commission.

Another example; Someone looks at the photo posted on the phone, of a personal staff member to a senior cabinet minister’s instant messenger system, and automatically a full blown story is created? How does a photo of an expensive car posted as an image on one’s phone, translate into their wealth and acquisition of it? How absurd as people post all sorts of pictures for a wide range of reasons and inclinations.

We need to spend some time reflecting on when we purport fairness, quality versus quantity and what really are topics/issues of high national interest, level and depth of analysis, the type of audiences we are writing for, stakeholders concerned and what constitutes tabloid type of articles and its rightful place. Let us look at other places for a start in the adoption of best practices. We must strive for incremental progress it does not have to be revolutionary — Rome was not built in a day!



CARLYLE GONSALVES

Marabella

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