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Journalism is key to protecting truth

Good journalism will always be committed with seeking truth in circumstances where too often people are kept in the dark over highly sensitive issues that hold the potential for reflecting negatively on a particular group or someone in authority who would be expected to know exactly what occurred.

It can be a challenge for the most experienced journalists because they have no choice but to ask tough questions in seeking truth, which is always the priority of every dedicated reporter.

The world has witnessed in this age of modern communication veteran journalists with proven records of good work who have been attacked and insulted in press conferences by leaders who resent being questioned about leadership ethics or matters concerning the people.

Every government operating under the banner of democracy throughout the world, and that includes Bermuda, should expect to be questioned by the free press on sensitive issues, whether it is the Covid-19 health crisis, economic matters or other civil issues of community concern.

No stone should be left unturned in keeping people well informed. This situation varies from country to country, and there are some jurisdictions where trained journalists are cautioned that probing sensitive issues could result in physical harm or worse if leaders feel their positions of power and authority are threatened by exposure to matters that could incite people to engage in open protest.

Over the years, many journalists have paid the ultimate price for seeking truth in order to inform people of what they need to know, if they desire a healthy environment for their families and their children.

Even in countries where acts of terrorism take place on a regular basis, leaving men, women and children dead, there Is a need for the professional journalist to ask questions about people being killed because they are viewed as being out of step with this or that ideology.

Without question these are difficult times for the free press, especially when there are actually news outlets that support those who feel democracy does not suit their cause. When that type of message is used to stir up those who seek change through violence, it places any country in danger.

This is why countries around the world view the most powerful nation on the planet, America, with concern since former president Donald Trump continues to spout malicious claims that he was ousted from the White House by electoral fraud, which have been rejected by every court in the country.

Journalists questioning the Republican Party over why it refuses to step away from such claims have in most cases run into a brick wall. That fizzled-out rally on September 18, which was to support those who tried unsuccessfully to stop the certification of Joe Biden on January 6, should not be seen as an end to a push by extremists who want an America for only certain people.

If only the Republican Party could stand up and declare that Biden won the election outright, it would be seen as getting on board with the truth, which could help to restore a degree of stability in the country. However, it seems more committed to making it extremely difficult for certain people to vote by changing laws and even giving GOP officials the power to overturn election results. I doubt if any American in their right mind is comfortable with that.

Security on the occasion of September 18 was so overwhelming to protect the Capitol building that it would have been foolhardy for anyone to attempt anything that would have set off a response that could have led to potential bloodshed. Officials know there are still groups of extremists that pose a threat to national security. Things can get complicated when the enemy is actually in the house.

The GOP could learn from the Pentagon, the powerhouse centre for all US military operations. After a recent drone strike in Afghanistan that left seven children and three adults dead, they openly admitted a dreadful mistake after first declaring that the strike killed two terrorists. Information at the scene revealed that the vehicle hit was wrongly targeted, as there were no explosives or terrorists inside.

With reporters pressing for answers, the Pentagon had little choice but to admit to the world, through a commanding officer, that a grave error had been made. Journalists pressed for answers as to how this could have happened with such advanced technology in use by the military. The Pentagon conceded a full investigation is ongoing. It stopped short of saying whether anyone would be held accountable.

A key factor here is facing up to truth is always the best path to follow to avoid a lack of transparency and subsequent mistrust.

There are countless troublespots around the world, with thousands in daily distress. The free press, while operating with principles, must stay vigilant in keeping truth out front. Exposing critical problems globally could make the difference with millions of lives in the quest for a better world.

It was at this rally on January 6, with the White House in the background, that former US president Donald Trump got the masses worked up in advance of them and others storming the Capitol (File photograph by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Here in Bermuda, we along with the rest of the world are locked in a battle against an unseen enemy in the form of a deadly virus that continues to disrupt normal life, while claiming lives and impacting our economy.

Moving forward is going to be very challenging indeed. If we fail to comply collectively with health guidelines in place to save lives, it would be nothing short of inviting failure. That is totally unacceptable because Bermuda can get through this troubling period with co-operation and determination.

The ball is in our court.

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Published September 25, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated September 24, 2021 at 3:59 pm)

Journalism is key to protecting truth

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