Behaviour at press conference ʽunacceptable’
The standard for professional journalism sank to its lowest level as witnessed in the press conference on February 16, 2022 held at Government House.
The Premier and leader of this country, the Honourable E. David Burt, JP MP held a press conference for the appointment and swearing-in of the Reverend Emily Gail Dill, as the new senator and Junior Minister for National Security and Transport.
Her Excellency, the Governor Rena Lalgie, officiated the swearing-in ceremony with family members and friends of the new senator in attendance.
The Premier then allowed routine questions from the press corps which initially were very relevant to the occasion — and the Premier’s corresponding answers were as well.
However, to my shock and dismay a reporter from The Royal Gazette had the blatant audacity to ask the Premier questions and continually interrupted him as he attempted to answer. This reporter tried to belittle the Premier by stating Sir John Swan is known as the best Premier of Bermuda.
This Royal Gazette reporter asked six questions in a very rude and disrespectful manner, when members of the press corps were allowed only three questions. The reporter’s bullying and discourteous behaviour led to the Premier several times stopping and asking the reporter to allow him to respond totally to the question posed. After several disruptive outbursts from this reporter, the Premier made the wise decision to conclude the press conference.
I believe that this reporter must not only apologise to the Premier but also to Her Excellency the Governor and those in attendance.
I believe that The Royal Gazette should properly vet their foreign reporters on the acceptable protocols in Bermuda — or is this now “the new” acceptable standard of behaviour for professional journalism at The Royal Gazette?
Editor’s note: The events of February 16, 2022 were not ideal, and in particular the venue where they transpired. But we stand firmly behind the reporter in question. New to the island or not, he conducted himself in accordance with accepted standards of best practice that we demand of all our journalists, and in keeping with someone who has had exchanges with several heads of state in similar settings. It should surprise no one that the Premier has attempted to become the master of obfuscation when “answering” questions that he does not fancy. That Wednesday morning was the culmination of an extended period of dissatisfaction with what we consider a lack of full disclosure, and the opportunity was rightly taken to put the Premier on the spot in full view of the public. Again, the regret is over the occasion and the venue, which has been communicated to both the Governor and the new senator.