The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) says that it is disheartened by the level of journalistic independence in the country and has cautioned certain media houses that unless they accept their role as an unbiased and professional body that is willing to allow the general public the opportunity to listen to and make informed and intelligent conclusions about given issues or reports, then they may as well consider themselves to be accomplices to current efforts aimed at compromising journalistic integrity.
The LPM asserts that “the role of the mainstream media is not to serve as an extension of the Government Information Service (GIS), but instead to do all in its power to present viewers, listeners and readers of various political persuasions with a balanced, objective assortment of the news and political opinions that dominate a given news cycle. To this end, media houses that claim to be independent cannot allow themselves to be seen as blocking attempts to broaden political discourse in the country.”
While the LPM has, in this instance, singled out the Daher Broadcasting Service (DBS), for practices that it deems biased and not worthy of serious journalism, it believes that DBS is not alone in presenting a diluted form of the news to the public, especially when it emanates not from the government but from organizations, which in their journalistic opinion, are “irrelevant” or are not capable of possessing a serious point of view.
The LPM points specifically to DBS’s decision to afford Minister Alva Baptiste the opportunity, on two separate evenings (Feb 4 and 8), to finally attempt to address the LPM’s claim that “embassies and consulates are bankrupting Saint Lucia” but not to share with its viewers the full content of the LPM press release.
However, what was most troubling, if not shameful, about the manner in which the issue was handled was the fact that DBS, with the LPM original press release in its possession, did not seek to correct the minister’s incoherent, self-serving, and cursory rebuttals to the LPM during the course of two interviews on the very same press release, which now appears to the LPM as if it was a convenient strategy to add lustre to the minister’s unimpressive and unsatisfactory response.
The LPM says that it has also taken further umbrage at the decision of DBS to withhold the contents of its rebuttal to the minister from the public after his first attempt to address the LPM’s calls for the immediate shut down of the Saint Lucian consulate in Miami. It smacked of unprofessionalism and bias for DBS not to deal with the substance of the release, which was the immense financial strain that maintaining three facilities in the United States has had on the island.
The LPM contends that serious journalism begins with a willingness to educate and inform the public about issues of national concern and not to hold on to an outdated mode of reasoning that places greater importance on the positions held by certain individuals in a society rather than focus on whether they truly understand their responsibilities, including the impact that they can have on a people who are so desperately in need of upward economic mobility.