Thursday, December 14, 2017

Harris cannot dictate to 'Observer' journalist

Ethnic Stocking: Another View by Michael Harris is confusing. He admits that the Jamaica Observer is correct in that, "It is certainly true that the 'stocking' being practised by this Government is more blatant and indiscriminate than any before."   

Despite this he claims that the editorial was an "open, blatant and completely subjective attack on the T&T Government and made no pretence at objectivity or analysis." If something is subjective it is not objective and, therefore, makes no pretence to objectivity. If something is true, it is not false. Like most journalists in Trinidad, the Observer journalist wrote from a subjective viewpoint, as did Harris. He expresses anger at what the journalist should have done, and describes this omission (i.e. Harris' opinions) as an "egregious falsehood" (this is absurd!) and "an open, blatant and completely subjective attack on the T&T Government". If ethnic stocking is true of this government which claims to be democratic, how can stating that fact be an unreasonable criticism of or an attack on the government of T&T? Harris himself admits that it is a fact, and describes it as "blatant and indiscriminate"!

A journalist is entitled to describe a fact without having to meet the expectations of all and sundry. Either his facts are correct or not. Freedom of speech means the right to express an opinion however disagreeable, and the right to criticise it. Harris seems to want the Observer to publish a short history of ethnic politics in our fair isle, rather than just an article using their criteria, because this is what he implies he would have done. Who is he to dictate what the Observer journalist should do?

Surely, Harris should be able to see that, in 2012-13, democratic governmental practices in T&T should have evolved beyond ethnic stocking. As a prominent island in the West Indies, the Government of T&T should be setting a better example of democracy.

That it is not doing so is cause for criticism and fodder for journalists. 

Richard Wyndham