Keith Mitchell censoring Grenada again? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Keith Mitchell censoring Grenada again?

On March 20 I was fortunate to read a report on the Government Information Services (GIS) Grenada Facebook page, which gave a comprehensive and accurate account of the World Bank’s decision to issue no new loans to Grenada. It was the latest development to pour oil over Grenada’s already troubled waters. While this is a troubling turn of events for the country, another troubling issue about this story became evident: censorship.

The initial report of this story on the GIS Grenada Facebook page was taken taken down within minutes of it being posted. The same story was posted on the  social networking site by a veteran Grenada journalist, but before I could hit the copy and paste buttons, the story disappeared.

I do not want to guess why the story disappeared before my eyes – before I could hit the copy and paste buttons. I only hope it was for the purpose of editing and reposting. To think otherwise is frightening.

The newly appointed executive of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) may want to probe this issue if the GIS fail to repost the story on its Facebook page where Grenadians can go to get a sense of what’s happening at home.

Or would that be too challenging for the association, now that it has a public relations expert on its executive board? I have to say – I was daunted by this reality. That the Grenada Media Association’s constitution allows for public relations officers to serve.

I cannot see how this is not going to be an obvious conflict between the business of mainstream media and the business of business itself.

It would be interesting to see what happens when the media has to aggressively pursue stories on the company that this PR-based executive member works for. I hope the member proves me wrong. After all, in one of the most awakening paradoxes, mainstream media cannot run effectively without the support of advertising business. So the reality of bringing the two together also remains frighteningly apropos. Striking a balance would be useful.

An office assistant also was appointed to the executive, an outcome that goes contrary to the media association’s constitution.

Nevertheless, it is my hope that these challenges faced by the association are minor, and will not prevent the executive from doing their just duty. To safe guard the privileges allowed to the media – known as the fourth estate; according to Grenada’s constitution.  This includes ensuring accurate reporting in the media while protecting against self-censorship.

Alleged reports on the island of the newly appointed media association executive being selected rather than elected  is still to be proven. Time will also reveal if accusations of the executive being under the subtle influence of the Keith Mitchell NNP Administration are true;  as the walls of the media are cracking open with allusions of an intimate relationship between the newly appointed media executive and the government.

As I was about to complete this commentary, a member of the New National Party Government posted the statement  by the World Bank on the Grenada talk-shop forum in reply to my concern about the report.

The post also revealed the time and sender of the statement: “Received from GIS at 4:29 p.m.”

That was noble of the government official. But it neither appeases me nor alleviates my concern that the statement was posted and taken down from not just the GIS Facebook page, but also the page of an independent journalist. While news blogs cannot be prevented from publishing the story (where it is already being circulated), material can be censored in the mainstream press, where the masses receive most of its news information as it is deemed more credible.

So the question of censorship still looms over the suspicious disappearance of the World Bank Statement on the Government Information Facebook page.

One can remain hopeful that the statement will appear on Grenada’s official website. Up to the conclusion of this article, it was not yet posted there, but I came about this  news release by the Grenada government congratulating the executive members of the Media Workers Association of Grenada on their appointment to the executive.

Does the media association find it appropriate for a government, worse yet a politician to be congratulating their election or possible selection outcome at the March 16 AGM?

The association should not be offended if other members allot chunks of blame to the executive for what looks and smells very suspect in the chummy affair of politician congratulating media, for what?

There is no greater insult than a politician congratulating a journalist; especially for their coverage of a story. Like every other industry, the mainstream media has its unwritten rules, and that’s one of them, its egg on your face as a hard news journalist – when a politician publicly calls out your name and says: “thank you for the wonderful coverage.”

If the media does not keep the government in check, the government cannot help itself, nether can it help the people.

During the Grenada election campaign in February, then opposition leader Keith Mitchell told the people he was not the same person, and that he is a changed man. This was followed up by enlightening and inspirational speeches presented in his election victory rallies, meant to help bring the people together. At least, that’s what he said.

This does not mean that the people have not forgotten the Keith Mitchell of the past, in his previous incarnation as Prime Minister. How the media was bullied and censored, journalists jailed, and journalists threatened to be jailed under his leadership, as if he could have jailed his problems by jailing journalists. We do not forget.

It also does not mean that the people are not willing to give the dynamic leader another chance. But If Prime Minister Mitchell has any hand in what looks like a censoring of the Grenada media through the back door,  he will do well to know that if there was ever an exercise in futility, as Michael Jackson said with a final kiss and a wave to his diehard fans before his sudden death, “this is it.”


About the author

Marcia Braveboy

Marcia Braveboy is a journalist from Grenada based in Trinidad and Tobago. She has over 20 years experience in media; mainly in copy writing, news and broadcast journalism. Braveboy was a senior reporter at Power 102 FM radio, CNC3 television and producer of the investigative Frontline program on CCN’s i95.5 FM talk-radio station. You can follow Marcia on Twitter: @mbraveboy Contact the author.

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