Dodging and hiding from the media – opportunities missed
MOST VINCENTIANS, including leaders in the private and public sector, seem very clear about the role and responsibilities of the media, and they take every opportunity to remind us whenever they deem that we have fallen short.
They also are very keen to engage with journalists when they want the world to know about their achievements or have something to promote. However, when their co-operation is needed in a matter that falls directly within their purview; a matter that if properly ventilated could benefit the wider community, but which may require them to show leadership or take responsibility, they suddenly have little to say.
Many times, when members of the media attempt to dig deeper into serious issues affecting the community, roadblocks are constructed by some in authority, almost as a reflex action as there is usually no discernible reason for the hesitancy.
We are living in an era when the level of mistrust by the public for those in authority is at an all-time high. There is no simple or single explanation for this, but the reluctance of those in leadership positions to accurately and clearly disseminate information in a timely manner has played a significant role in this.
Yesterday, SEARCHLIGHT’s Bria King, a trained and experienced journalist tried to elicit comments from the Chief Environmental Health Officer and a school leader about a mosquito infested dump at the Questelles hard court. That garbage situation and related issues have, for quite
some time, posed serious threats to the health and wellbeing of residents of the area, particular children attending two learning institutions. Yet, these two leaders for reasons known only to themselves, decided that it was in their best interest to dodge, block and hide from the media instead of working with us towards arriving at a solution.
It is time that all who have been given the responsibility of leadership come to terms with the fact that leadership goes beyond being “in charge”. It calls for them to be accountable and be at the forefront of formulating solutions to challenges that fall directly within their scope.
Whether these leaders agree or not, the media play an important role in keeping them accountable.
Instead of viewing the media as the enemy in unsavoury or difficult situations, leaders should recognise the opportunity presented not only to bolster their credibility in the public sphere, but also the potential for wider involvement of stakeholders in the formulation of solutions, if only they were to engage intentionally and transparently on those difficult matters.