News of the Third World: Please fill-in-the-blanks…

Jamaican media’s vow of silence is ruminated upon…and speculated about.

Front page of Murdoch-owned Times a couple of days ago

Kudos to James Harding, editor of The Times (UK) for his newspaper’s coverage of the Murdoch empire’s embarrassing collapse. Despite the fact that his paper is owned by the one and only Rupert Murdoch Harding has treated the story as if it were a regular news item and given it front page coverage as any self-respecting newspaper should.

What do you want to bet that this would never happen with our two leading papers were the news stories about the respective business empires that own and fund them? Hell these are media entities that refrain from naming names even when you’re the prime suspect in a murder case–unless of course you happen to live below Crossroads in which case they splash your name around with abandon. In fact in the instant case of the seismic events shaking up the Murdoch-owned media subsidiaries the story would probably go like this if they involved a local magnate:

Day of atonement as media chiefs quit

July 16 2011 12:01AM

The publisher of one of the island’s leading dailies, Mr. Nobody, issued a series of abject apologies and heralded sweeping changes to his newspaper business yesterday as he sought to repair the damage of the phone-hacking scandal. The media mogul and chief executive parted company with two longstanding allies in a clearout of senior executives. Hours after accepting the resignation of Editor-in-chief, Ms Anonymous, at Newspaper X, the leading businessman also bade farewell to #Itwasn’tme, the chief executive of ZZZ, publisher of The ABC. Whereas the resignation of Ms Anon as chief executive of Newspaper X appeared inevitable, the departure of #Itwasn’tme, who has served the media giant on both sides of the Caribbean for more than 50 years, was a surprise. Please stay tuned for further updates on these cataclysmic events…

A friend who shall–in keeping with the craze for anonymity–remain nameless, said he thought that the real news was to be gleaned from the social columns of the leading papers, which we also won’t name, in case they sue us. The fact is that there’s absolutely no danger of a News of the World type scandal happening here because far from hacking into people’s phones to get the full story our media routinely averts its gaze from the crucial stories affecting us plying us instead with a choice selection of press releases from the corporate world.

Fortis Pavilion at Khajeel Mais' Funeral: courtesy Edgar Lewis

Up to now we don’t have a comprehensive printed account of what is going on in the case of the X6 killer, though the alleged owner/driver of the car, Patrick Powell, has been arrested. We also heard on radio that Mr. Powell has refused, on the instructions of his attorney, Patrick Atkinson, to speak or explain anything. He has also apparently refused to turn over his firearm for examination. The Gleaner also issued a stern editorial advising the Police Commissioner to release details of the raid of the home of a senior police officer in connection with the same killing. One doesn’t get the impression that the police not naming the leading suspect or the policeman whose house was raided would have kept the British media from unearthing those names and publishing them along with more detail than you could possibly want.

On the contrary island journalism ensures that literally little or nothing is known about this senior cop and what his connection to the case might be nor is any real information available from the newspapers of record about the alleged killer of the young schoolboy. Powell is to face an ID parade next week approximately 3 weeks since the killing of Khajeel Mais, who was buried today. What are the chances that anyone will be able to remember well enough to accurately identify Powell as the shooter in question? Meanwhile news broke yesterday that the Supreme Court of Jamaica had overturned the amendment to the bail act of July 2, 2010, ruling that it was/is unconstitutional. Speculation is rife as to the effects this might have on the X6 case.

Meanwhile I drove on Barbican Road today and noticed that in the area of Grants Pen Ave the road has been completely resurfaced, a sure sign that elections are looming. As a Facebook friend (who shall remain faceless) announced the other day:

Notice: The General Elections are upon us, with it comes several job opportunities – “person to call talk shows”, “person to write letters to editors”, “persons to peacefully block roads” & several others. Interested persons can send CV to my Inbox with a $500 processing fee. Thanks.

I leave you with a mordant joke which i picked up from an article in Outlook magazine, India:

Syria’s Hafez Assad was a brutal despot who ruled the country with an iron fist and a 65,000-strong secret police force for 20 years. When he died, his son Bashar took over and is today fighting a growing insurgency. A joke that did the rounds in Hafez Assad’s time seems pertinent. One of his aides informed him, “Mr President, you won the election with a 99.7 percent majority. That means only three-tenths of 1 per cent of the people did not vote for you. What more could you ask for?”
Assad’s reply: “Their names.”

You would think we lived in Syria, judging by the vow of silence that seems to prevail in the media here. SMH, it seems the ‘informer fi dead’ culture has strangled journalism in Jamaica for good. There is little or no freedom of information in this island.

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “News of the Third World: Please fill-in-the-blanks…”

  1. …and the ‘pore’ love LA Lewis. I am sure there may be some journalists working with these leading media entities that really want to have a dig but can’t. It is strange that this man has such great influence on Jamaica’s [in]justice system and before Sunday I had never heard of him. The licky-licky govern us so corruption must prevail. I wonder if he is any relation to Eelan. This is by far the slowest traveling suss ever in Jamaica.

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