Categorized | National News

PM Lashes Press Over “Bias”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis hit out at local newspaper editors over what he deemed conflict of interest as well as the sensationalizing of political journalism.

 

His comments came in an address at the 3rd annual Bahamas Press Club Awards held at the British Colonial Hilton over the weekend.

 

While he did not refer to any editor or news outlet in particular, he did say the practice of editors writing weekly columns should not be a practice that is encouraged.

 

“While I understand that journalists in The Bahamas must take on multiple roles given the number of reporters and limited resources; it is still surprising that some who serve as editors, also regularly write or offer commentary. This is not a practice that would be allowed by journalists in other countries. I am not speaking here of editorial writing.

 

“A journalist and a columnist are distinctly different roles.

 

“The editors of The New York Times or Globe and Mail in Canada, nor the editors at the British Broadcasting Corporation would allow their editors to write commentary or to host a radio program driven by personal opinion, as well as commentary that purports to be news analysis.

 

“The 24-hour cable news shows in the United States have in a number of ways led to a lessening of standards that would not have been allowed in previous times. There has been a considerable blurring of reporting and commentary.

 

“It is telling when certain standards have been breached, that some in the press do not even realize that a standard has been breached. Journalists are not supposed to be champions of any political party, business, group or interest in a country,” Dr. Minnis said.

 

The Prime Minister also spoke to what he deemed sensationalizing of political journalism, which he said may draw listeners and readers, but important policy points are sometimes missed.

 

“In addition to the sometimes heated moments or events of the day, there is much more that the press may report on, especially on matters of public policy. There has been a tendency by political journalists to mostly report on the clashes and drama of politics. Such reporting is fairly easy and exciting.

 

“Still, while there is news in such events, there is considerably more, much more, when reporting on politics and the workings of government.

 

Some in the press often miss important and more consequential stories on important public policy questions.

 

“By example, the landmark legislation that will be introduced to enable a certain classification of women and men denied equal access to citizenship in the Constitution, has been unreported, while some other stories have gained more traction. Drama undeniably excites viewers and readers. This is much easier to report on.

 

“But certainly the press has a broader obligation to report on policy matters that will have a greater impact than some stories that are less substantial,” Dr. Minnis said.

 

The Prime Minister did add however that the business sections of most local dailies are to be commended as they often times cover what is missed in front page writing.

 

 

The event this year was sponsored by ALIV and Bahamas Power and Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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