There’s an interesting development unfolding in Guyana even as you read this, Dear Reader. Ever since the birth of the newspaper back in the 17th Century, it has constantly evolved from just summarising the news and passing it on to actually CREATING the news. Not just from the obvious power to SELECT which news was going to get printed – and declare it’s “All the news that’s fit to print” like the NY Times did – but actually giving the news various slants or making it up to influence the readers.
And we arrive at the age of “fake news”, or as Kellyanne Conway would term it, “alternative facts”. In Guyana, its local emblematic practitioner had always been the Muckraker, which had obviously modelled itself after the sensationalist National Enquirer. Except that instead of reporting on space aliens giving birth to babies sired by Elvis and such like, they specialised in spinning just as incredible tales about the PPP in general, and Bharrat Jagdeo in particular!
But even though you wouldn’t know it from what goes on in Guyana, over the years the law of libel had evolved to deal with blatant skewering of people’s reputations in the newspaper via fake news. And this tended to make most publishers more than a bit skittish about publishing some of the news that might come their way.
Like the item that brought about these musings by your Eyewitness. Seems there’s been this paedophilic teacher who’s been committing his acts of violation for almost two decades. The fella taught at almost all the top High Schools in Georgetown – in addition to giving the now obligatory “lessons” – and yet was never exposed by the newspapers.
His modus operandi was to allegedly befriend and “groom” vulnerable and troubled schoolgirls as they approached the “age of consent” through sexualising of his classroom talks, etc, before moving in for the actual sexual contact.
And how does your Eyewitness know this and yet his newspaper hasn’t exposed this sick pervert? “Social media” is the answer to the first question and the “libel laws” to the second.
The story has unfolded on social media over the past few weeks even to the point of the sick teacher being named. This can happen because the libel laws are yet evolving to cover social media – while without some kind of police charge being laid, the newspapers are struck dumb.
If the twisted teacher had been more of a public figure, maybe the newspapers could’ve outed him under the “fair comment” exception to libel.
But isn’t it time the Police charge the pervert on available evidence, so justice can be done for so many children??
Charles Manson is dead. “Who’s Charles Manson,” you ask, Dear Reader? Well, let’s put it this way…Manson represented the dark side of what was touted as the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius”. Which, as the 1969 song declared, “When the moon is in the Seventh House/ And Jupiter aligns with Mars/ Then peace will guide the planets/ And love will steer the stars”. And on earth there will be, “Harmony and understanding/ Sympathy and trust abounding/ No more falsehoods or derisions/ Golden living dreams of visions/ Mystic crystal revelation/ And the mind’s true liberation”.
But while the ‘60s generation was celebrating free love and flower power, Manson, a 5’2” bearded wannabe rock star cultivated a group of young followers who brutally slaughtered seven high-profile Hollywood types, including Sharon Tate, the wife of Director Roman Polanski.
It wasn’t just the murders and the smearing of “pig” and “Helter Skelter” on the bodies with blood, that shocked the world, but the circus atmosphere they created during their subsequent trial.
The lesson? Beware of men who promise us utopia!!
With the Police Force obviously having entrenched problems at the top, the middle and in the ranks, isn’t it time to change the fella in charge?
The Minister of Public Security.