At a recent press conference, a minister of government said the media has a place to play in social transformation by tuning down the bad news, and ratcheting up the good news. Another of the panel members in the employ of the government suggested the media put a more positive ‘spin” on the things we report. “Putting it on page six, instead of page one,” said a voice from the back of the room, in the conference room at the Ministry of Trade’s office. The same week, a man had been murdered in his front yard on his way to work, a few blocks from where we sat. The same week, this media house learned of an out-of-control burglary problem in Jone’s Estate/Spring Hill/Fountain from someone buying an ad, offering a reward for effects he lost in a burglary. We learn this from the victim, not from the police. As a reporter, here are some questions I believe ought to be answered: Is murder and burglary so common that it should go on page six instead of page one? How do you put a positive ‘spin” on murder and burglary? Should the police tell the public when their neighbors are being robbed? Do you think it is their obligation? Until we In Nevis and the Federation and the Caribbean as a whole, can answer these questions ” how can we possibly fix this? “I would love to report on the good things the NIA does, if only I would find out about them before they happen. As it is, I only get to look at what happened through the filter of the government information service. The truly righteous are proud of what they do and need no filter. A recent survey of countries” corruption in government revealed that the Federation had too little data available to make an assessment. That puts the Federation below last place in being open about what they do. There is room for improvement. The more I talk to the public about burglaries, the more stories I hear. So many of our neighbors are being ripped off and we are not being told. As it stands, the only information the police release is convictions and arrests, not the crimes reported. Here are a few more questions that need to be answered: Would you like to know about crimes being committed in your neighborhood? How much crime do you think goes unreported? Much news on Nevis is transmitted by word of mouth. Many of my stories are “old news” by the time this paper goes to press, but we shouldn’t rely on word of mouth for the facts. The police need to inform the public when criminal activities are reported. Awareness and education are the first steps in correcting problems. Both require information to flow, from those who know to those who don’t. This is the job the media does. The media is not the enemy of government and law enforcement, but it is the moral obligation of the media to be the enemy of bad government and bad law enforcement. Cohesion here will start when we are outraged at having killers and thieves living among us in such a potentially safe, peaceful, prosperous and healthy Nevis.
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