Hubert Ingraham

Dear sir,

The information revolution has brought us a lot of traumatic news.We are constantly bombarded with bad news about wars, drug smuggling, murder, global warming, economic instability, food scarcity and price increases. When we go to the movies for relaxation we are again subjected to violence, mass killings and evil forces. If we go to church we are greeted with a hell and brimstone sermon. When we listen to popular music we are jarred by violent lyrics. Even the days of our lives type programmes project this high level of conflict. Wherever we turn we are brought face to face with violence and badness and the constant repetition of these, work their way into our way of life, so we become verbally violent and critise everything around us. This is reflected in the call in radio programmes, which reveal a Bahamian world filled with misinformation, conflict and hate.

Negative commentary leads to an engagement in a blame game, makes people dissatisfied, creates or reinforces prejudices, creates stress, destroys the quality of life we have worked so hard to achieve, encourages violence and makes it very difficult to get things done in The Bahamas. It also creates tensions that leads to heart attacks, diabetes and other sicknesses. These in turn lead to absenteeism, which creates conflicts with employers, and the cycle continues.

While all sectors in the community get critised in this soul-destroying way, the Government and the private sector seem to get the worst lashes. It is easy to critise someone who is trying to get something done. There are always mistakes and always a way of reporting on it that suggests that one side or the other is being completely unreasonable.

All human beings respond to threat by becoming violent, or by distancing themselves from it. We can see this in The Bahamas, with many people preferring to say nothing about the situation while others get verbally violent, judge others guilty and blame them for what is happening.

The Genesis, Garden of Eden story warns us, do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, a warning about using this good and evil approach, it leads to social division, which destroys the society. The bible classifies this as an evil force and, following from this anyone who uses this approach can be considered evil. Once this process starts, it escalates, soon everyone is doing it. Husbands blame wives, parents blame children and children spread blame among themselves with abandon. Even our religious leaders take up the cry and yell hell and brimstone from their pulpits.

I want to urge the media to raise the standard of their reporting. We need balanced reporting that leads to solutions and not sensational stories that distort the truth in order to create public interest.

We are a very small country and we have to take inordinate care about how we treat each other. We cannot afford the consequences of disharmony.

Jerry Roker