Editorial: Media Coincidence Or Conspiracy?

May 23, 2010

MCKEEVABUSH210X277The Cayman press has an editorial where they compare the recent media governing concepts in their island and ours, saying “Is this really a coincidence or is there a secret agreement between the two Overseas Territories’ leaders of government, neither of whom is noted for his media friendliness.”

Despite the comparison made, the concepts in both islands is vastly different, with the Cayman Premier making significantly stronger suggestions.

He is reported to have threatened media fees of “over $100,000”, with jail time for non-payment, whereas the proposed Bermuda Media Council Act [here: 12 page PDF] doesn’t mention media fees payable to Government, nor fines or jailing in any manner whatsoever.

Both islands have come under fire from the International Press Institute [Bermuda link, Cayman link], with the IPL saying it “is deeply concerned by reports that Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush threatened two local news organizations with $100,000 in ‘fees’ and up to three months in jail if they failed to pay up.”

According to reports Premier McKeeva Bush [pictured] has specifically aimed many comments at “blogs”, and Cayman Net News, which is the news organization that printed the editorial, an excerpt which is printed below:

When reporting the news of the day, as we have done for many years, one quickly learns to question and distrust coincidences.

We wonder, therefore, if the recent threats by Premier McKeeva Bush of $100,000 fees, “hefty fines” and jail time against this newspaper and other local media have anything to do with the fact that his colleague in Bermuda, Premier Ewart Brown, has recently introduced a controversial media bill that, according to the International Press Institute (IPI), a global organisation for a free media, has “more in common with the media legislation of some of the repressive governments in Latin America, than with the First Amendment tradition of one of its close trading partners, the United States.”

Is this really a coincidence or is there a secret agreement between the two Overseas Territories’ leaders of government, neither of whom is noted for his media friendliness, to act in concert to promote the repression of freedom of speech and thus the press?

You can read the full editorial on Cayman Net News here.

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