Premier’s Statement in Response to Media

May 28, 2010

In the House of Assembly this morning, Premier Dr Ewart Brown made a a statement in response to the statement made by the combined media yesterday, in which they pledging to have a self-regulated Media Council up and running by September 14, 2010. The statement was signed by Thaao Dill of Inter-Island Communications, Chris Lodge of DeFontes Broadcasting Co, Rick Richardson of Bermuda Broadcasting Co, Tony McWilliam of the Bermuda Sun and Bill Zuill of The Royal Gazette.

The Premier made “special note” of the leadership and actions of Mr. Tony McWilliams of the Bermuda Sun and Mr. Senator Thaao Dill.

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise today to acknowledge that the Government has received and intend to review the proposal by Bermuda’s combined media to form a Media Council. The Government believes that due to the lack of recourse available to members of the public who have been misrepresented in the media, the lack of a uniform and enforced code of standards, ethics and conduct and the continuing deterioration of media objectivity, the formation of a Media Council is necessary to bring journalistic standards and Bermuda into the 21st Century. The Media Council as proposed by this Government achieves that goal and as International Media Organizations should have determined does not even come close to threatening the freedom of the press.

Mr. Speaker.
This Government has given Bermuda’s combined media two years to form their own self regulated Media Council with a uniform and enforced Code of Conduct. We were told they were too busy! The tabling of the Media Council Bill 2010 has apparently given them the opportunity to make journalistic standards a priority and we appreciate their response. We are pleased to see that leadership has emerged within Bermuda’s media outlets and would like to take special note of the leadership and actions of Mr. Tony McWilliams of the Bermuda Sun and Mr. Senator Thaao Dill of Interisland Communications in helping to begin this process.

Mr. Speaker.
The Government has decided to review the proposal as presented by Bermuda’s combined media. During this review period the Media Council Bill 2010 will remain on the Order Paper of the House of Assembly. When the Government is satisfied that the media generated plan meets the objective, the Government will remove the Bill from the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker.
While there has been a considerable amount of fear mongering surrounding the issue of the Media Council, this Government has no interest in restricting freedom of the press or freedom of speech in Bermuda. The Media Council we propose would not prevent the media from pursuing the truth and revealing the truth wherever they find it. This Government does however envision a day when fair, objective and accountable journalism is the norm rather than the exception. We welcome the media’s proposal and believe that this is the first step towards that goal.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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  1. Live Blogging Bermuda House of Assembly Bermuda News | Bernews.com | May 28, 2010
  1. Tired of the nonsense.... says:

    “The Media Council as proposed by this Government achieves that goal and as International Media Organizations have determined does not even come close to threatening the freedom of the press.”

    WTF??!!! Do you honestly take us all for fools? How many internatinal media organizations have come out and roundly criticized this bill? Now how many have come out and stated Dr. Brown’s claims that their Media Council Bill is perfect and fits well into our deomcratic society? Just today the Association of Caribbean Mediaworkers have followed in the criticism put forward by the IPI and other international media organizations.

    Can anyone actually believe anyhting this man says anymore? Does he take us all for fools? Just because you have convinced your band of zealots of not to read the media doesn’t mean we all don’t.

    Just get out. We need a leader that doesn’t take us all for idiots and one that understands he is there to serve the people and not his own little paranoid agenda.

  2. bernews says:

    Small correction was just sent to me this afternoon on the statement – it was “should” have determined does not…