It’s been some time since I last posted on this blog. There are multiple reasons for this: I had to finish a consultancy report, the kids and us were on holiday for a week, and I guess I had sort of disconnected / plugged out…
I however want to report on a radio show I was invited to on R1 on Thursday 27th July. The show is called ‘Controverses’ and was hosted by Francoise Marechal-Charlotte. The programme was devoted to the local media, more specifically to the Media Trust. The other guests were journalists Henri Marimootoo and Sedley Assone.
Death of the Media Trust?
The starting point for the discussion was the alleged programmed death of the Media Trust, which still has no chairman as the PM has not yet designated one though the media reps had already been elected in January. This has handicapped the Media Trust Board which cannot operate as usual.
This lack of decision by the PM together with the announced proposal of a Media Commission Bill is prompting journalists to say that the govt wants to punish the press and drastically restrict its freedom.
As an external observer, I analysed this as a strategy of govt to frighten the press. As I pointed out in an earlier post, this seems to be working to some extent as some journalists are sometimes unduly overcautious in reporting even official speeches and parliamentary questions.
I don’t know what will be the content of the Media Commission Bill (if there is one) but definitely, we will have to be careful that it does not stifle the press (though some regulating would be desirable, specially to protect the interests of ordinary citizens).
Self-regulation not control
However I truly think that it is high time for the press to show its goodwill (and thereby avoid the ‘necessity’ of imposed control from above) by creating its own association or institution to discuss and establish codes of conduct, provide mechanisms for handling complaints and ensure redress and also incidentally raise funds for training programmes. Self-regulation is always better than imposed laws.
I also pointed out that the Media Trust is currently receiving only some 2 million rupees annually from govt, basically to fund seminars and training of journalists. Surely, if the Media Trust were really to die, that would not be the end of journalism in Mauritius.
The need for common ground
The problem is that journalists of the local press itself have not been able to communicate amongst themselves (ironic, isn’t it?). Though diversity of approaches and beliefs is certainly desirable to provide a large array of choices on the market (and thus ensure multiple voices are heard), some common ground has got to be found to ensure freedom of speech that is also respectful of all.
I heard recently that some journalists have met to discuss the creation of an association. Could it be that my suggestions have been heard? I hope the initiative is a serious and solid one…
Think Mauritius says
We really like reading your views on the media in Mauritius. Would you be interested in being a contributor to Think Mauritius?
Christina Meetoo says
Thanks for the nice comment. I just browsed through your weblog. Nice inititative. I would be delighted to contribute. Just let me know how best I can do it.
Q: Do you have any specific requirements or structure? Are you from local mediascape?
Think Mauritius says
Thank you for your good words. We really believe in the good of our initiative, and as you may suspect already, our goal is to provide an additional source of information about/for Mauritius. We believe that journalists in Mauritius are restricted in many ways (regulations and political affiliations amongst others) and are unable to communicate everything they intend to. We started Think Mauritius to provide them with a platform where they can do exactly that.
To answer your questions:
No, we do not have any specific structure. We are happy to accept contributions from anyone who is passionate about at least one aspect of life in Mauritius and is prepared to share it through Think Mauritius. Obviously, your area of expertise is in the media, and we think that our readers could benefit from your opinions.
Again, no, we are not from the local mediascape, so to speak. But we have been following the development of offline and online Mauritian media. We foresaw that the Prime Minister’s stance against journalists would push them to come together and explore alternative media; the announcement of a new association and the possibility of a blog from Le Mauricien — they hint at it in their online survey — seem to confirm our foresight.
There seems to be many Mauritians who are now willing to share their views in a blog. But, unfortunately, unless all their views are collated in one place, their influence will be mostly wasted in the vastness of the web. Think Mauritius wants to be that place.
As for joining Think Mauritius, it really could not be simpler. Just let us know if you have anything that you want to publish under the Think Mauritius banner, and we will send you further details.
We look forward to receiving your contribution.
Christina Meetoo says
Sorry for the delayed reply. I had some technical problems with comments notification;-)
Thanks for the background you have provided. I would be delighted to contribute.
Could this contribution take the form of replicating certain posts from my own weblog (e.g. those dealing with the local press)? I think this would probably be easier to manage.
just logged to the website. vry interesting.
i would like to know whether individual or distant courses in journalism are available for housewives?
i am keen for freelance journalism. do you have any contact number so as to reach you?
Unfortunately, we do not have either individual or distant courses in journalism. We only have a part-time diploma and degree course in Communication with specialisation in Journalism. You can check details on the University website at http://www.uom.ac.mu (look for Communication Studies Unit under the Dept of Social Studies, itself under the Faculty of Social Studies).
You can call me on 454-1041, ext. 1250 or send me a mail at