Saturday, May 8, 2010

Media Council

The PLP is no friend of the Royal Gazette. This is more than obvious to anyone who has watched the Government kill the Mid Ocean Newspaper by withdrawing advertisiment, attempt to gag the RG on major stories and repeatedly criticize the Royal Gazette for reporting on anything negative relating to the Government. But I certainly didn't expect it to go as far as it seems to be going.

Dr. Brown has announced his draft plans for a Media Watchdog which he's been speaking about for a while now. At first glance it seems reasonable enough (although personally the thought of any government controls on a free media is worrying) but, as usual the devil is in the details. It is proposed that the council have 12 members, 6 of which are appointed on the advice of the Premier (i.e. appointed by him in non-political speak). One of the remaining 6 is to be the chairmen appointed by the Governor (presumably with only a tie-breaking vote) and the other 5 are supposed to be members of the media. If my assumption regarding the chairman is true that leaves the Premier with a majority representation on the council. As far as I'm concerned that gives a dangerous amount of power to the people who have the most to fear from a free media. Especially if our next premier is as openly hostile towards the Royal Gazette as the current one.

Unfortunately I expect this bill to go through parliament on a purely partisan vote without much in the way of public opposition, except for those who are already suspicious of or dissatisfied with the PLP. I look eagerly for when the bill itself is released, perhaps my fears are unfounded but... I doubt it. So much for..

Wishful Thinking

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