The ethics of the trade stipulate permanent responsibility for what one writes, when one chooses to profess journalism. The only time that stipulation is waived is when the penning is not intended for public consumption.
And, the burden of professionalism becomes greater when the journalist holds the office of Director of Public Information for the country’s Prime Minister.
We should recall Kaieteure News June 5th 2015 issue and the resignation of Government Information News Agency Director, Neaz Subhan, sent to Minister of Information and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
It was the Prime Minister’s Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, who represented his office and his profession by offering a Pharisaical, sanctimonious explanation of the resignation and then underscored the acceptance of it by explaining that the news was going to be taken in a new direction – citing that many under the PPP administration had engagement in willful malignment, character assassination, and conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the profession of journalism – to paraphrase.
He summed it all up by saying that “the public can have no confidence in these persons”, a direct quote.
So, it was against this background that we welcomed the change in government; anticipating that government media would restore the pedigree to the profession; exhibit the integrity that ushers in believeability for the consumers of news; replace past rancor with professional refinement; offer reassurance that state media was not a stage for vaudevillian interpretation but for the healthy consumption of information disseminated by those elected to represent us; assured of the restoration of caliber and character to our state media and information.
We’ve waited since May 2015 for this sea change in our media reporting and have been mulling over possible reasons why there has been no evidential change in information dissemination from our state media.
We’re still longing for media that is anticipatory, more proactive than reactive, equipped to dismantle propaganda, effectively deliver what is necessary with enough dexterity to deflect what is intended to derail, from detractors.
Nothing keeps happening.
So, we go after news from sources that are less mainstream but more astute; more expeditious and less unpalatable; looking always for the objective, the progressive ,understanding that these are the building blocks to moving our country forward.
As a point of specific reference, our Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, remains uncharacteristically mum; demonstrating a vocal paralysis that does not only fall outside of his character but under serves the portfolio. It is within these periods of silence that we expect his Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, to keep abreast of this prime minister’s activities, let us know where he is appearing, how he is interacting with the community, which Minister he might be meeting with. Indeed, this is a position that falls squarely under the umbrellas of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications – as much as it does under politics, so that keeping the nation abreast of what the Prime Minister is doing becomes passive political strategy.
Instead, Imran Khan has decided to supplement his tepid journalistic endeavors with tabloid testimonies. He has crossed the threshold of reporting the news worthy and has reduced the complex career of one PPP candidate, Elisabeth Harper, Former Director General and very accomplished diplomat, into what his political myopia sees as a transgression to be recompensed only with tar and feathers. It was Imran whose ascension speech was rife with transitive verbs, signaling the end of media maligning politicians, arresting the practice of professional compromise, restoring dignity to reporting.
We thought he would have been the journalist to scribe within the confines of our Constitution, acknowledging always that we are democracy that gives us the right to pick our dress and our religion, our politics and our parties. Journalistic integrity dictates that we follow the rules.
Then Imran gave us THIS picture of the PPP Prime Ministerial Candidate 2015, shot from the window of a vehicle, which may have been stalking this former candidate and captured her waiting on the pavement of Austin’s Book Store, as her family vehicle pulled to the curb for her to board.
Imran was on the job. Scouting out a story that would have promoted his profession; his office as Director of Public Information for our nation’s Prime Minister; the images of the other news organs on whose boards he sits.
This guy was on it…camera in hand, taunting hash tag on his tongue.
The hashtag, which, quite rightly got a virtual stoning from Guyanese who still see morals in media, suggests that the push to tabloidize politicians in the opposition, has shoved expected substance to the margins of journalism and embraces scandal, even if there isn’t one.
In spite of what he said when he was still auditioning for public endearment, he tried to capitalize on the unwritten media rule that the politician must be without blemish, or suffer the fate of being burnt on a pyre of key boards and every typing instrument available to die the slow death of media mauling.
In a sentence, his actions are approbius, vituperous, vitriolic and, yes, bitchy.
And when he’s done being all of these things, we’re expected to accept him as our Prime Minister’s Director of Public Information, Board Member of National Communications Network and Guyana National News papers Limited.
Imran has done little to change the grist- free, sluggish, poor – judgment delivery we’ve been getting from government media for the past two decades.
How about hashtag #fromboardroomstopavement for this Director of Public Information who seems to have benefited from a very selective review of his Curriculum Vitae?