Media exclusion in FOI week

| 03/10/2008

(CNS): In the week when the Freedom of Information Unit launched its campaign about the forthcoming law which will allow public access to government information, it was ironic that the media faced a number of exclusions from key events of public concern. Constitutional talks, a special reception for UK delegates and a planning meeting all remained closed to the Cayman press corps.

The week’s media exclusions started on Monday morning when the doors of the constitutional talks closed on them. This was closely followed on Wednesday by a planning meeting to decide the fate of the Lower Valley forest, which the media were also asked to leave. Then on Wednesday evening the press corps seemed to be overlooked from the invitation list for a constitutional reception described by Government Information Services as including “interested parties".

While most local journalists agreed they considered themselves to be interested parties in the constitutional talks, none received an invitation. According to a release from GIS, the cocktail reception saw the visiting delegates from the closed-door constitutional modernisation talks “meet with local officials and citizens who have a special interest in the talks".

There has been much public outcry that the talks were completely closed to the community at large and the press, and at no point have there been any opportunities for the press to question the delegates. Reports are that McKeeva Bush reverted to singing on the radio during the course of the week in order to reveal some of the details of the talks, which have reportedly seen the UK officials refuse a number of the government’s key proposals relating to the balance of power.

The media are, however, scheduled to meet with Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and Education Minister Alden McLaughlin, as well as Professor Jeffrey Jowell and the FCO representatives, at GIS this morning for a televised briefing.




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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ask yourself the question: ‘When the Leaders of other juridictions hold top level meetings are they always open to the general public and journalist?’

    The response is NO!  

    When a company meets concerning an acquisition that may affect the wider populas is the general public invited?  Are journalist privy to those closed door meetings?

    The response is NO! 

    In both scenarios the public find out about it via a press briefing.  Which the press is invited to attend to ask their questions! 

    Why? Because it is common practice, to invite the media to a press briefing after such meetings as referred to in this story.  I also highlight that this practice was developed and refined by the "Developed World".  (Where are the majority of the journalist in Cayman from? – is it not the so called "Developed World"?)   

    The media in Cayman should only be upset had they been given absolutely no opportunity to ask questions.  Or the information was suppressed.  There is NO suppression going on here!  The article clearly states that the Leader of Government Business along with the UK representitives are providing the journalists of this country an opportunity to ask question via a press briefing!

    This Government is awesome in that for the first time in it’s history the Government of the Cayman Islands provides such press briefings.  

    The mere fact that the general public knows what’s happening as it happens is in line with FOI and an open process that the journalist of this country is now privy to enjoying! 

    At what point will the bullying stop?

  2. Anonymous says:

    along a similar vein…..

    after the collapse of the 4 local funds there was apparently one man arrested in connection with it.  If someone is arrested there is only a short window before charges have to be brought and/or the person released.

    Does anyone know what happened. Maybe CNS could shed some light.