Our Readers' Opinions
February 7, 2017
‘Alternative facts,’ a worrying trend

Editor: Opinion suppression is not new in the Caribbean, but news suppression, suppression of the reporting of facts, is, if not new, an ominous growing trend. Venezuela’s de facto censorship (harassment of the media and imprisonment of journalists), the murders of journalists in Honduras and Guatemala, the attempted suppression of the reportage relevant to Texila University in Guyana, Keith Mitchell in Grenada taking legal action against a talk show host asking questions about past financial transactions, PM Gonsalves’ passage of the “Cyberbullying” Act, and fake news statements that the airport is “open,” but omitting the fact that that there are no regularly scheduled international passenger flights. These are only recent highlights. There are doubtless others more worrying I have missed.

In an age of “alternative facts”, where real facts, the truth and reality, are refuted, contradicted and replaced by false statements which override all (Trump: “It stopped raining when I started to speak…my inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s), ignoring or dismissing underlying reality, one has to fear what this presages. A government’s statement of “false news” is real news to the media. The obvious conclusion is that this paves a path toward demagoguery. If you can keep the voting populace ignorant, or by manipulating what they can see or hear on the media, you can control the country. Welcome to Orwell’s 1984 or 1950s and 60s Haiti – or Nazi Germany – that’s the path they followed and the path we are on.

And by the way, since when are sex toys considered contraband in St Vincent and the Grenadines? I couldn’t find it on the Government’s website or anywhere on the Internet.