Gibraltar Media: it’s a kind of magic!
Very recently, ERG published this critical press release: http://www.equalitygib.org/2017/06/erg-asks-who-are-the-real-victims.html.
We were reacting to Minister Sacramento’s claim that ERG has an on-going Campaign against her person. Correction: against failures to deliver to citizens on specific issues. And THAT was the press statement you never got to see – except, as far as has come to our attention, on Your Gibraltar Tv and on our own website and Social Media posts! (But do correct us if we’re mistaken). The item was newsworthy, given its topicality, public interest, and the expression of a point of view which balanced the official Government narrative.
Next day: GBC was all over the ‘success’ of a Government-sponsored internal workshop where practically all (if not all) participants are employees of Government and REQUIRED to be there. The headline? ‘DRUGS SEMINAR SUCCESS’! Really? Check it out whilst you can: http://www.gbc.gi/news/drugs-seminar-success
Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition says Government has surrounded itself with a ‘ring of steel’ when it comes to assuring the Executive’s narrative gets across to the public in a favourable light. The Chief Minister may possibly also have grounds to be dissatisfied. Ironically, both the CM and the Leader of the Opposition, it is fair to add, all too often form the staple diet, one after the predictable other (some say, ‘banana-republic-like’!) of our Monday-Friday-limited television news. (Parody: ‘Tonight’s Top Stories: the Chief Minister this….the Deputy Chief Minister that….the Leader of the Opposition this….and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that….’)
Much of all this is symptomatic of what ERG has been saying all along and which the politicians just prefer to look the other way on – that Media needs to be re-structured to be free of political influence so that our news workers can exercise more information news balance across our whole community (not just the dominating ‘political stars’), impart professional journalism, and more importantly, be enabled to follow their own lines of enquiry free of fear, interference or influence – whether overt, covert, or subtly implied.
ERG campaigns for change in many spheres of our Society. And this is definitely ONE of them. We’re not about to let go, either! While the politicians and their Parties may have a stake in keeping things as they are, we are committed to impartial campaigning on democratic rights.
ERG has long recognised the important role of our Media. We have also prized the efforts of our media workers in our Annual Awards presentations. But the opaque, unaccountable system in which our professionals are trapped needs urgent revision, urgent checks and urgent balances.
Whatever outlets’ managements may claim, it is difficult to sustain they represent independent journalism when they are so deeply tied to financial dependence on Government! Indeed, whatever those voices may purport (what else could they currently say?) this is not a satisfactory situation – and everything is not all fine and dandy. It’s not!
No democratic change is more necessary and more needed than to secure maximum independence for our young democracy – and Media is certainly a vital pillar. For the sake not only of Gibraltar generally – but of the people who work in the various outlets themselves, we have to find solutions. Solutions that will allow both media workers and the outlets themselves to breathe more freely, to survive economically , and within a system of transparent checks and balances that keep the Politicians and the Political Parties at a very, VERY safe distance.
It’s up to all of us to bring that about! And yes, It’s a kind of Magic!