Gagging Dissent

June 24, 2008

PM Golding has invoked the Staff Orders rule that says governmental officials must keep their traps shut when their individual positions conflict with existing gov’t policy. Not an atypical move for him to make. But, it really does and should sweet us when we see cracks in the veneer of retrograde, unsubstantiated policies, that come in the form of truth-telling, even if the labba-mouth will probably lose their jobs.

Even if current gov’t officials can’t say it, the rest of us can, over and over and over:


Such a move to silence dissent even within the government tells us a lot: that it does take a lot of arm-twisting and energy – and not divine inspiration as some might argue – to keep a country in the gully and backwaters.   And just before you line up behind the “loyalty” argument, remember that when the gag rule is invoked, it also shuts up those gov’t officials who would want to speak out on the cobwebs of corruption and back-scratching that are keeping some of them in their SUVs and nice houses.   Sure they will be punished because they have been disloyal, but we need a lot more disloyalty from those inside the big house. and should encourage it.  Don’t feel sorry for these folks if they lose their jobs: they are pretty well-connected, savvy and always land on their feet (that’s the perk of having a gov’t position, silly!).

This is also an ideal opportunity for media folks and other inquisitive ones among us to step into the fray and bring these stories to light.   We need to know what is being kept from us, by who, and why.   There IS more than one way to skin a cat, after all.


2 Responses to “Gagging Dissent”

  1. diatribalist Says:

    You have a lot more confidence in the ability of the Jamaican media to reform than I do. Increasingly it seems to me, they only care about maintaining their dolly house.

    As for the government, it is unlikely that they would attempt anything of the sort given how tight the margin is between the majority and the minority. We are not governed by common sense, but classism, colonial-learned behaviors, and psuedo-Christianity that rejoices when the prostitute dies of AIDS, even if Jesus would have said not to stone her.

  2. longbench Says:

    I don’t think that the media as an institution will change from its conservative, self-perpetuating practices. That’s what institutions do, really.

    I do care that we create more forms of media that seek to uncover the lies and expose the bullshit so that others can make up their minds.

    I do care that we use access to the ones that exist to pressure them to change, knowing that such change comes slowly, and in unexpected ways.

    For example, I think you will agree that the penchant for gossip rather than news among these pseudo-journalists is really annoying. But that lack of professionalism also represents crack in the system and they often inadvertently expose themselves and other things that they might have covered up anyway. I’ll take those and exploit them while I rally for something better. I wish more persons with more time, skills and resources than I would really take up the task and run with it. But, I do what I can with what I have. That’s what you are doing too, so don’t act like you are a total cynic. You are just as invested as I am in change (I don’t know about reform, frankly), or you wouldn’t be blogging, would you?

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