Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The truth hurts

As editor of the Vanuatu Daily Post, I have often come across such situations over the years I have been here and to say it bluntly, truth hurts. It's unfortunate that Marc Neil-Jones bears the blame every time people are not happy with the truth coming out.
In most instances his only crime is that he is a white publisher. I say this because Mr Neil-Jones does not get involved in the day-to-day editorial decisions of the paper. That is my prerogative and people should be calling me up if they think the paper has failed to uphold its high ideals.
I just hope that people, including those in the higher echelon of society know that the media operate at exactly the same wavelength regardless of where one may be on this planet.
They publish/broadcast news, views and opinions—much of the latter appearing in the letters and opinion pages like the one I am writing.
There is a world of difference between hard news, if I may use that journalism jargon which simply means reporting facts without tampering it with the writer's own biases; and straight-forward opinion.
In the case of Marc's editorial opinion calling on [the Acting Director of Correctional Services Joshua] Bong to resign, that was his right. It was clearly marked "Opinion". During such a discourse, he didn't require Bong's side of the story. On the other hand Bong had all the right to respond to it in a professional manner, not hide behind a façade, as he seems to be doing and inciting subordinates from what should be a disciplined force to carry out his sinister motives.

Kiery Manassah
Vanuatu Daily Post
Port Vila

1 comment:

PMC feedback said...

Pacific Women's Information Network

I am appalled at the attack on Mr Neil-Jones and nothing he wrote can
condone this type of lynch mob behaviour.
However, I am appealing to all journalists, especially those here in Vanuatu, to make sure:
1. You get both sides of the story
2. You get your facts right
3. You speak to more than one source.
Far too much appears in some papers here with quotes by "our source" – containing so-called facts which are misconstrued or untrue. Once it is in
the printed media there it stays. Freedom of the press should never be treated lightly, used to serve egos or take undeserved credit for events that have happened at a government level.
We have to be particularly careful of this in undeveloped countries because of the likelihood of lawless retaliation, such as has happened here.
I am in contact with a very high ranking police officer who has said about this incident:
"Those Police Correctional officers (4 officers) who were involve to assault the publisher of Daily Post last weekend..... my brief report is completed.
It has reached the Commissioner's office this evening for immediate action to be taken ASAP. The Vanuatu Government (Prime Minister's Office) apparently, was very concerned of these police officers actions against Marc
Neil Jones. Looks like these officers will be suspended from their official duties."

Marg Smith
Port Vila