Friday, October 24, 2008

The Lazy Press

Now before anyone gets their panties and speedos in a twist, let me begin by saying that the press in Belize enjoy a lot of freedom, and we must thank our democratic system for that. We enjoy the relative freedom to write and report what we want, when we want it, where we want it (except for on the occasional partisan blog).

It is what they do with this freedom is what troubles me. They do nothing. Except for the odd Jules Vasquez convenient expose, the press are very, very lazy creatures.

Time and time again, I hear on morning shows or news casts something like "we are waiting on a press release from the Police to give you the news". What? Are you kidding me? The press are supposed to be calling the police, they are supposed to be camped outside a politician's office. They are supposed to be following Dean Barrow for comment, or fact checking a businessman's claim. Instead, the just sit back in their comfy offices and wait for the phone to ring or the fax machine to beep to a halt.

Anthony Martinez even had to GO TO CHANNEL 7, to tell his side of his rambling "story". He was handled with mostly kid gloves, and his treatment was not unique. In other parts of the world, the press would have been roughing him up with headlines like "Money from Nothing!" and photos of him wiping his forehead with a hanky. 

So why is our press lazy? Well they are underpaid for the most part. Most of them have never really been to journalism school or been part of a foreign journalistic team. They don't seem to have the hunger except when their own paper / news organization is at stake (eg Ashcroft closing on KREM), and they surely don't know what it like not to have journalistic freedom in the first place. Had these folks grown up in China or Venezuela where their lives were at risk every time they wrote a word, I am sure their perspective might be different.

We must encourage a more tenacious press. Not a twist the truth Enquirer style of story telling, but a good, aggressive, no hold barred and fearless reporting of the stuff happening around us everyday.  They must search out stories, question everyone and trust no one.

With a more tenacious press, politicians might just start acting a bit better, and those upper class white collar criminals might be a bit less "breggin". If you think of the times the press has been hungry and on stories (Courtenay's $3mil, Said' endless debauchery )  those folks came to despise the evening news, often going in seclusion and hiding behind henchmen.

Maybe the bad apples in our society might actually start to behave if they knew that they might just be the topic of the next "7 on your side".


Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

i couldn't believe that during the carnival a grenade was thrown and we heard nothing of it until MONDAY - between Saturday and Monday no news was given on the issue.
I think that Belize is one of the only countries to NOT cover news on weekends. I totally agree with this blog!!!

Democrates said...

With regard to the last comment, I too wondered why there are no news broadcasts on the weekends. I think the logic behind this anomaly is the fact that there would be no news (or very little) to cover on Mondays (seeing as Monday's news covers the weekend news).

On another note, yes, we are blessed with a freedom of speech that mostly compares to other countries. Which means Trazidex, that you can indeed write the occasional partisan blog, even on a "non-partisan" website; I apologize for the level of objectivity - the basis of the mission when we decided to create Belize Watch.

Trazidex said...

We don't have news on the weekend because they don't want to work weekends!

Case in point...KREM 6:54am this morning..."we have been waiting on NEMO to call us since friday to give us an update...if they don't call us I GUESS we will have to try to call them" they are reporting 3 day old flood news cause they can't pick up the phone!