Today’s Editorial: The need for discussions on media and politics

POSTED: 07/20/11 11:48 AM

The United Kingdom is going through a noteworthy exercise at the moment because of the scandal around Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. That noteworthy exercise is a discussion on how far the media can and should go as it seeks to reveal information and what type of relationship journalists have with politicians.

It is not unheard of, in many countries like Britain, that senior journalists become the communications officer for either Prime Minister, members of Cabinet of senior Members of Parliament. Here in the Caribbean that can be seen as something dangerous and at times the end of a journalist’s career as people will continuously question their credibility should they return to their jobs as reporters.

One thing that definitely catches our attention and links to St. Maarten is the concern over the way headlines and stories are written. We pause here to point out that an oversight led us to make an error in our front page headline on Tuesday. The fly line should have read: Arrindell: “We cannot assume rights are being trampled.” That correction in place we hold to the accuracy of our story and the editorial that appeared on July 15 and on July 19 as factual and with merit.

Back on the relevance of the Murdoch incident it is time that the government, parliament and the media have a discussion on how our relationship works. A good basis would be the Media Law that was submitted to the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles on September 4, 2007 and must still be handled by the Parliament of St. Maarten. Clear rules on the relationship will no doubt improve it. What should be avoided is anything that strangles it.

Discussion is needed and the sooner it happens, the better for all parties.

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