‘Sala­cious head­lines’ threat­en­ing tourism sec­tor

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Janet Sil­vera Gleaner Writer janet.sil­vera@glean­erjm.com

MIN­IS­TER OF Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett says Ja­maica is at a del­i­cate cross­road where the me­dia will have to de­cide whether a cul­ture of “read while you bleed” should take prece­dence over the na­tional good.

In a Gleaner in­ter­view yes­ter­day, Bartlett noted that while the me­dia are there to en­sure that the pub­lic’s right to know is al­ways held in high re­gard, they should guard against sac­ri­fic­ing the coun­try’s num­ber one bread­win­ner on the al­tar of “sala­cious head­lines”.

“The me­dia are there to en­sure we have ad­e­quate checks and bal­ances to guard against Gov­ern­ment’s ex­cess and that the in­ter­est of the pub­lic is pro­tected at all times,” the tourism min­is­ter pointed out.

“How­ever, in a Third World coun­try like Ja­maica where tourism con­tin­ues to be the real en­gine of growth, it is not un­rea­son­able to ex­pect the me­dia to be a re­spon­si­ble part­ner where there is a bal­ance as it re­lates to how crime is cov­ered and the type of de­scrip­tive lan­guage that is used to high­light the prob­lem.”

Bartlett noted that in other ju­ris­dic­tions where crime is also a huge prob­lem, the me­dia there tend to be more con­ser­va­tive in their cov­er­age.

NOT MUZ­ZLING THE PRESS

“What I am say­ing, and I re­ally don’t want my com­ments to be mis­con­strued where it comes across as if I am try­ing to muz­zle the press or I am try­ing to pre­vent the me­dia from car­ry­ing out its du­ties ... , no, not at all,” he stressed.

The tourism min­is­ter fur­ther noted that in Novem­ber, when the “eyes of the world” will be on Ja­maica for what is be­ing billed as the big­gest tourism con­fer­ence to be staged in the Caribbean, “the stakes could never be higher.

“Ja­maica will be host­ing the United Na­tions World Tourism Con­fer­ence where al­ready we have 47 coun­tries reg­is­tered to be here,” he ex­plained. “Are we go­ing to scare them away as well as the 150-plus tourism min­is­ters of the world who are slated to be here?”

Bartlett ad­mit­ted that the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity lay with the Gov­ern­ment in deal­ing with the crime sit­u­a­tion, not­ing that poli­cies will have to be put in place to tackle the prob­lem once and for all.

BARTLETT

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