Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Journalistic Responsibility and Nation Building

For Old Time Sake
One of the best things I have done on Facebook is to unlike the Jamaican news reporting page OG.NR or as I like to call it “On the Ground Bad News Report”, as a result my phone inbox and Facebook wall is now free from constant 100% bombardment of Bad disgusting negative news about Jamaica and Jamaicans, I now only get my news, when I want my news and on my terms.

On examination of OG.NR’s Facebook history/timeline, I found the following:
  • In May of 2010 OG.NR was founded 
  • In that year there was 1428 murders but OG.NR did not report on any
  • In 2011 there was 1124 murders but OG.NR still did not report on any
  • In 2012 after the General Election OG.NR became a murder by murder reporting dynamo 

On The Ground Partisan News Reporting shaping Hearts and Minds for the Next General Election, I really do hate when hypocrisy tries to pass itself off as something else. Honest and Open Journalism to me is about bringing the truth to light, informing the public, it is a vital part of any society and the Nation Building process. The worst thing we could have in any society is corrupt journalism, people who take it up on themselves to pick and choose the information they will disseminate base on Partisan Political “Diehardism” which is like a doctor refusing to do Blood transfusion, or set broken bones because it goes against his religion or some twisted belief system, preferring instead to let the patient die. Journalist should be forced to take the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to practice Journalism ethically and honestly, upholding a number of professional ethical standards that goes against the concept of Partisan Political “Diehardism”. Why is it so hard for people to separate their personal life from their professional life?

When I am in the mood for news and by news I mean well rounded current affairs news, I would visit the various news sites including ON.GR and select a rich realistic picture of news items that reflects real life in Jamaica, they are not allowed to bombard me 24/7s, since what they do is a form of brainwashing, design to eliminate all hopes and dreams from the minds of the Jamaican people. Most of the people who frequent sites like ON.GR usually end up thinking the worst about who they are, where they are from and their fellow Jamaicans, it is not uncommon for Jamaicans to describe other Jamaicans as disgusting animals and Jamaica as a failed state, to declare that there is no hope, we are all doomed, damned to hell and destined for eternal damnation.

It gets even worst because this is what we communicate to the world, we constantly as we hang our dirty laundry for all to see. This is how we portray ourselves and should not be shocked when people around the world class us a certain way, treat us a certain way and look at us differently. But I know we are much more than this, I know we are better than the way we portray ourselves, I know that Jamaica is filled with lots of good honest, hard working people, intellect and innovators, trying to carve out a better life for themselves, trying to make a future for their families but we do not do enough to push this side of Jamaica and by the time a child reaches the age of 10 he is well versed in all that is negative about his country and his people. This child is already thinking that there is no hope for him in Jamaica and like a caged animal he is already looking to escape, why waste innovation and thinking on a country one believes is not going anywhere and there is no hope. Like a farmer in Islington, St. Mary told me... "well we not all animals Yu Nuh!"

These days it seems that most modern news outlet operates with some sort of underling motives, a hidden agenda which is almost always political in nature as they align themselves with various political factions, trying to set the stage and the mood of the people for the next big general election. For some people, cutting off your nose to spite your face or shooting yourself in the foot is a valid and worthwhile strategy for political gains, since to them the end justifies the means. The problem is these people have no idea when they have gone too far, self inflicting so much damage that it becomes impossible for the patient to survive. It is not that the news they are reporting is incorrect, it is just that the news they are reporting is only of a particular type, death and destruction giving the impression to all Jamaicans and the world that Jamaica is a bad disgusting no go place, that Jamaicans are horrible people never to be trusted and there is nothing good, positive or uplifting taking place in Jamaica, this line of thinking is counter productive.

My recent examination of crime reporting in London, England showed that there is a big difference between the crime listed on the Metropolitan Police blotter and items being reported on the evening news.... Less than 1% of the crime on the police blotter was actually being reported. The total number of crimes in London was 461,401 as of October 2012 which includes 60 murders, 8 in October alone, 5,762 raciest hate crime, 733 in October alone, 1,105 gun crime, 115 in October down from 185 the previous year and 640 Homophobic crime down from 850 the previous year and 91,847 violence against a person with 12,679 happening in October alone, there was 66,664 incidents of crime in London, in October. However when you watch the BBC Nightly local London news, one would think that only a small fraction of the 461,401 criminal event happened in London because the entire hour or half hour is not used to list one criminal activity after another, current affairs news reporting is a lot more diverse and gives the viewer a sense of normality, some good things happen today and some bad things also happened and I see this type of reporting in most other countries.

Read More: Latest Crime Figures for London

COPS are accused of exaggerating the drop in crime figures out today - with 400,000 crimes not even recorded. Crimes in England and Wales fell by 33 per cent according to police despite the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recording a fall of ONLY 17 per cent.The ONS said the "rate of reduction" in recorded crime "may over-state" the decrease.ONS statistician John Flatley said bigger falls in the cops’ figures could be down to pressures to meet crime targets.

British Cops 'fail to record 400,000 crimes to improve figures'

Police in Trinidad and Tobago have been ordered to stop releasing murder statistics as the National Security Minister declared that reports of violence encouraged people to commit more crime, he does not believe it is good for members of society to be bombarded about each and every criminal activity.

Read More:Jack Warner bans Trinidad and Tobago murder figures

The Mayor of New York it seems also share the same belief since it is not conducive to attracting business investments. The NYPD seems to practice a policy of keeping certain crimes off the books.

Read More: Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books

I am not saying not to report crime but if you only have an hour to report the Current Affairs News then news must include both the positive and negative, if only to give young minds a sense of self-worth, a feeling that Jamaicans are also capable of doing good and living a normal life, that all is not lost, that they too can contribute to the positives because they live in a country that encourages positive healthy lifestyles. We are preconditioning the minds of our young people to not expect anything from Jamaica and themselves, removing all hopes and dreams, killing all imagination and innovation when we provide a one dimensional view that Jamaica is a horrible place, no wonder so much Jamaicans line up in front of the various foreign embassies and consulate hoping for a chance to escape this media created hell hole. This gets even worst when every news items regarding Jamaica is bad and every news events happening in mainly white foreign countries is positive, upbeat and normal then it really gives the impression that Jamaicans are abnormal people.

The method of trying to shock people into doing the right thing must be used with great care, I understand the concept of tough love but one must measure that with positive reinforcements. If you constantly tell a child they are bad, worthless and will amount to no good then eventuality the child will accept the fact that they are bad, worthless and will amount to no good, I think Jamaica is at that stage.  

I am forced to cull certain people from my Facebook friend list since it gets really hard to take on lives challenges and start ones day with a positive, innovative outlook, especially when those friends has nothing contribute but moan, groan, whine and whinge, about death, despair and lost hope.  I am not burying my head in the sand but instead putting life into perspective, every cloud have a silver lining, the glass is half full, the world is filled with positive and negative forces, good and evil but I will not let bad, negative, evil things define me and I continue to believe that Arsenal FC will once again be the Champions of England and Europe and the world.


  1. Not sure if you get this comment often but I really enjoy your blog. I was just catching up and have always wanted to say something. Maybe its the people I hang around but I don't know much people who have ANY hope for Jamaica and at times it makes me look like an idiot in there eyes but the faith I do have surpasses natural thinking. I just keep asking what can we do as those who want to see change in all facets of our island. I would at least like to enter into dialogue about it or just know what or where or by whom things are being done to make Jamaica be the place it truly can be.

    Thanks again for your blog, its good to know there are still those who believe. Take care.

  2. Thank you for responding, I certainly will get back to you soon...

  3. you have a great here!