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The vital role played by investigative journalists

Al Seymour

Journalists around the world have the challenging job of reporting events as accurately as possible.

Many pay the ultimate price in seeking to reveal truths too often kept in the shadows by those who fear breaches of decency, freedom and respect will be exposed.

In a world where extremism is causing grave concern for safety, it is always journalists who are caught in the middle as they struggle to carry out their profession of keeping the world informed on complicated issues of the day, without bias for this or that group.

Apart from reporting events as they happen, investigative journalism is required to unlock doors that shut out the bright light of meticulous scrutiny. It is required to reveal wrongdoing against innocent people.

Without journalists willing to go that extra mile in seeking truth – whether they live in a large, powerful nation or a small island – a great deal of activity that falls beneath expected standards would probably remain in the shadows of cover-ups designed to protect those who may be responsible.

It is a thankless task, to say the least, because journalists are viewed as the enemy by those who resent being challenged on matters that bring their ideology or code of values into question. The recent horror in Paris which saw extremists gun down staff at a controversial magazine was evidence of new dangers in today’s world.

Investigative journalism is not confined to acts of terrorism, or violation of basic human rights; it is also of significance in examining improper standards in any area of community life.

The Royal Gazette deserves a tip of the journalism hat for investigating and revealing areas of questionable care for some seniors, even at rest homes. The result was both shocking and disturbing. Hopefully, the authorities will act to ensure Bermuda never experiences situations where seniors, for whatever reason, are allowed to suffer silently in the darkness of bureaucracy surrounding so many cases.

It is not the first time we have heard reports of poor care involving seniors. However, it is troubling that in this day and age such cases can fall below the radar of health authorities, only to be exposed by the press investigating a subject usually spoken about in hushed tones. While excellent care may be provided in many rest homes – and that is a positive – no senior in a state of helplessness and in need of medical care should suffer while people talk gushingly about benefits from the America’s Cup and what it will mean for our economy and tourism.

It would be wrong for this matter to become a bouncing ball for politicians, who usually disagree on countless issues as they play the blame game. Bermuda is perhaps at fault for being so obsessed with getting ahead financially at almost any price that along the way values that give true meaning to being my brother’s keeper have been pushed under the bus.

Revelations from The Royal Gazette series, examining conditions that some seniors have had to endure either at rest homes or private homes, should lead to a full probe.

As Bermudians, we cannot turn a blind eye to anyone suffering, especially in their senior years.

We salute those who perform their duties without fanfare in caring for our seniors, but as long as a single senior suffers through some form of improper care no one should sleep peacefully on this island — not until we can eliminate conditions which create a feeling of shame.

Once again investigative reporting by the free press has opened the door for authorities to bring about positive change. Such change should go a long way in making life for all of our seniors as good as possible.

No stone should be left unturned in trying to achieve the highest standard of care for all of our seniors.