We’ve already offered the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder for Bharrat Jagdeo, so, to say that he is afflicted with acute hubris would be to signal an improvement in his mental well being. Hence, we’ll consider his meeting with ‘world leaders’ as given to a fit of madness – if, he, in fact, met with world leaders (many were former leaders, some never leaders at all.)
The bigger picture here, though, is the absence of State Media in deflecting these attempts by the Opposition to upstage the Granger government. The typical function of state owned media should be to keep the public abreast of what its government is doing. It should be the go –to platform to learn how the various sectors are implementing strategy to improve the economy; what the ministries are doing; how the government is progressing along corrective courses of action; what is being done to aid municipalities; announcements of public meetings to discuss issues like the unauthorized occupation of public spaces; announcements for squatters in parks and burial grounds to leave. In other words, State Media is like the publication of the official gazette; only in real time and on issues that are more fluid and organic.
So, for example, when the nation’s President is travelling to Canada, it would be good to hear of it from State Media, before he leaves the country. This would not only contain speculation that may be damaging to the optic of a private visit to a private home, in the context of what favors may be offered to the host of the private visit, but it would be demonstrating that the Public Relations and Communications teams in government understand their roles, as they relate to use of public, state owned media. It will demonstrate that they understand that being anticipatory, proactive, expeditiously reactive, incisively responsive and forward projecting will keep we the people aware and informed; which will reduce the opportunity for us to receive the wrong information first, then have to purge our minds to absorb what’s actually right; understanding that minds work on the principle of first impression.
Guyana was the center of a historic occurrence on September 29th 2015. President David Granger made the case, for the first time, for the border controversy with Venezuela to be taken to the International Court of Justice, having exhausted centuries of diplomatic charade. This speech, clear, concise, incisive and undoubtedly an epoch marker, was not carried live on state television. The narrative was not published in state media. There was no analysis and discussion on state television of the ramifications of this speech and, if there was, there was no specific programming detail that alerted listeners, at home or abroad, to tune in.
And, with the indolence of State Media the other media surges; embellishing events like Bharaat Jagdeo’s meeting with world leaders; emblazoning their pages with mock titles like ‘Jagdeo meets World Leaders in New York’ piggy -backing ‘President Granger endorses Jagdeo’s climate change agenda’; elevating the rabid titer of those who are still driven by ethno politics; exploiting the indexterity of Team State Media, which seems to be in a continuous loop of recoil and restart; missing and mopping; never quite the front runner of stories that they should lead in.
Like every tool in politics, Mass Media’s virtue lies in its implementation. It has the capacity to inform and the dexterity to skew the details at angles that create different information for different sets of people. It’s the kind of asset that comes with inherent liabilities. The key to utilizing this tool effectively lies in optimizing the limited broadcast time and the limited attention of audiences by dispensing the news that the state feels is pertinent. News about the nation’s President and the government in power is filed under pertinent.
Yesterday, because there was no rapid response to the fabrications and creative journalism of the media that favors the opposition, we got a ‘defensive attack’ from President Granger, swatting away the fact that there was more media coverage about Jagdeo’s jaunt to the UN to represent a country he navigated to the third poorest country in the Western Hemiphere with a comparable exponential growth in personal wealth of his Ministers, to the officers in governments of oil rich countries. The interview was conducted by State Media, true to form, in responsive, reactive mode.
President Granger was forced to play catch up and act as if Bharrat’s visit to the United Nations was not a distraction, hinting, as if by afterthought, that Jagdeo was late to get on board the Granger Administration’s climate change agenda.
We understand the President is a statesman and must stay above the fray. But there are times when we want him to be pointed; refrain from Churchillian references and indirect inferences.
Bharrat Jagdeo is not our international representative for climate change. He, his government, was the recipient of USD 200 million, dispensed by Norway to protect the rain forest which he had already leased to Bai Shin Lin for USD 30 million to de forest at will. He sold the same product twice to two different buyers. There is no oblique way to wonder out loud what the terms of the contract with Norway were and to underscore that his, Granger’s, government is still searching for the people’s money that got lost on the way to the treasury, when Bharrat was boss.
This would have at least, given the interview some substance.
And, to elaborate, Jagdeo’s trip to the UN was not sponsored by the government. He was not an emissary on government duty and the administration would be very imprudent to allow him to perpetrate the fraud of representing the country when he is under investigation.
President Granger’s comments on welcoming Jagdeo’s activism, represent, once again, poor advice from his media team which gives us news coming from State Media in retrospective format; especially since they keep Jagdeo in the headlines.
State Media remains limp, flaccid, in the face the news organs of the Opposition; failing to derail their attempts to upstage the Granger government; flunking more abysmally to assert that Jagdeo is the lesser leader; leader demeritorious; not the representative of anything government, at all.
The Syrians have now adopted citizen journalism because their State Media has become, under-active, ineffective and under –informative. They grew tired of having to depend on getting the details of the devastation of their communities from Face Book and from anxious family members living in England, America and Canada, who were getting the information of local attacks that were taking place with miles of their residences, before they did.
Guyanese, especially in the Diaspora which plays such a formidable role in the country’s economy, are leaning more to Citizen Journalism to keep abreast with politics in Guyana.
This is not exactly an encomium to Team State Media.