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Virgin Islands Media: Friend or foe part 1

Is the local media damaging the image of the British Virgin Islands abroad? The following 2 stories state no. In fact, media exposure of issues that need to be made public knowledge is good for Virgin Islands politics, economy, and society.
August 9th, 2014 | Tags: Dickson Igwe media news demand negative
Dickson Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
By Dickson Igwe

An online media story of August 3, 2014 had this Old Boy Journalist thinking. According to the story, the Savvy and Distinguished Leader of the Virgin Islands stated the following at a public event: ‘’Negative messages give the wrong impression that the territory’s people are unfriendly and hostile. This may turn away potential visitors and investors,’’ the leader warned.

The Premier further stated that, "negative messages are destructive and can make the difference between the prosperity and failure of the country.’’ The Premier instead admonished residents to paint a positive picture that the BVI "is a paradise, full of potential, accomplishing much, where people thrive and do well.’’

This writer fully accepts the Great man’s assertions, that every resident has a duty to represent these islands in the most positive manner. However, with every opinion, there is usually another view that presents a different picture to the prevailing one: the countervailing view so to speak. It is always worthwhile assessing a matter from different perspectives.

Now, a look at any developed or rapidly developing society with unshackled media will show that the messages emanating from the media machine including the very popular blogs tend toward negativity. Yes. Sadly the world is a world full of negatives. Negativity sells.

For example, the press in Great Britain has recently been highlighting a serious scandal. That is the issue of pedophilia in the British Establishment. OK. In relation to the pedophilia matter in Britain, the question asked is this one: was that exposure bad for the UK? This Observer will state: "certainly not.’’

In fact, that exposure of a terrible crime taking place at the summit of British society for decades, and covered up by that selfsame establishment, was the opportunity to deal with the problem once and for all . The arrest of a very public figure such as Sir Rolf Harris, and the revelations of the pedophilia of the late Sir Jimmy Saville and others, suggested that the years of covering up this mess had come to an end.

The media exposure of pedophilia in the British Establishment caused a very public awareness that there is a serious problem with pedophilia in Britain. That exposure by the media was the first step towards correcting the terrible matter of adults sexually assaulting children in that ancient kingdom, especially among its venerated upper classes.

In a similar stream, Edward Snowden’s exposure, via public media, of the US’s overwhelming digital intrusion into the privacy of US citizens, and citizens of allied countries, was good for the USA. It revealed the National Security Agency’s paranoia and ubiquitous power. Without that exposure, the beast called the NSA could have become so powerful, that it would have posed a threat to personal freedoms in the country.

Similarly, Wikipedia’s leaks of US secrets to the world may have brought serious embarrassment to the nation during and after the Iraq War. However, it showed a US foreign policy under George Walker Bush riddled with thoughtlessness, hubris, arrogance, and unnecessary aggression. Wikipedia exposed a US foreign policy based on reaction, and not intelligent action. Wikipedia gave the heads up to Joe Public why the US ended up fighting endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, leading to a Middle East that is more dangerous than ever today.

Errors in US foreign policy are one major reason violent jihad is spreading rapidly to various countries across the globe previously considered relatively peaceful. So much so that today the US may be embarking upon further adventurism in Iraq.

Media exposure of rampant corruption in countries such as Nigeria and Iraq showed why those countries have been thrown into a quagmire of armed conflict and political instability. Media activity across the globe has opened the eyes of the rulers of those countries: at least it should have. The international media presents a mirror to the leaders of the two states. This is an opportunity to correct the malaise that afflicts their societies.

Media intrusion has given the leaders of these states the opportunity to correct the perilous trajectories of their countries by offering a perspective unavailable to powerful men surrounded by cronies and parasites. Whether they take heed will determine the fate of Nigeria and Iraq. Countries with leaders who use media as a feedback mechanism, and act accordingly, can avoid going over the precipice, frequently.

The very nature of news, and what is demanded by the reading and listening public, puts negative stories in greater demand than those articles that paint a rosy picture of society. That is the simple reality of the modern media beast.
The mirror the media presents to society is an opportunity for a country, its people, and its leadership, to learn and then self correct. That can only be a good thing.

To be continued

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2 Responses to “Virgin Islands Media: Friend or foe part 1”

  • x factor (09/08/2014, 10:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yea ndp hate free speech good piece iweg
  • yes we can (09/08/2014, 14:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The NDP want t do nonsense and we the public and media must not talk about it they better wheel and come again

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