After Radio One and TopFM, Radio Plus had its own show this Saturday devoted to the debate on regulation of the press through a possible Media Commission Bill.
Guests in the studio were Raj Meetarbhan (chief editor of l’express), Lindsay Riviere (chief ed of Business Magazine) and Rama Valayden (minister of Justice). Eshan Khodarbux (boss of the Defi Plus media group) also intervened through the phone.
Compared with his colleague Bunwaree (who was on Radio One a few days before), Valayden was much more sober and tried to present rational arguments for regulation of the press by govt. Yet, the accusation of plotting and bad faith on the part of a ‘section of the press’ (a favourite expression of all our successive govts) still held good. L’express was again heavily criticised for their coverage of the importation of petrol affair & the publication of rumours about transfers of civil servants, etc.
Raj Meetarbhan was in a fighting spirit and ardently defended his paper by trying to enter into a discussion of the details of these affairs. He almost accused the govt of plotting against l’express (which might be true but then why not week-end, a slightly more partisan paper in its opposition to the govt?).
Lindsay Riviere was probably the most rational contributor as he pointed out that the failings of the press could mostly be attributed to lack of access to information, lack of training and the nature of the job that does not allow for much time for triple, let alone double-checking as should be the case for credible journalism.
As for Khodabux, he also made some interesting points about the difficulties of the job with some concrete examples and a vivid language. It is however not quite fair that he was allowed to make a long uninterrupted intervention as compared with the other participants…
It was nonetheless one of the most informative shows on that issue so far (Radio+ had the advantage of being the last one to tackle it). Seems like the contenders are now refining their arguments and positioning themselves more clearly.
On the govt’s side, Valayden has now confirmed the existence of a working paper for the Media Commission Bill but he declared nothing would be finalised without proper consultations.
As for the press, Riviere alluded to the advent of the association of journalists and mentioned that even the media bosses & chief editors are thinking of forming an association.
The game is now truly on…