Notes From The Margin

June 4, 2007

The Tragedy Of Barbados Free Press

Filed under: Barbados,Barbados Free Press,blogging,Uncategorized — notesfromthemargin @ 2:10 am

There’s another Barbados Blog online called Barbados Free Press. It’s wildly popular. I believe that it regularly makes WordPress’ top 100 blogs.

It scares the hell out of me.

This blog, has been one of the harshest critics of the Barbados government, and the politicians here. (And lord knows they need criticizing). Problem is that BFP is sloppy. They will publish anything that’s going in the rumour mill with no regard for checking facts. Further their tendency for hyperbole is amazing. Here are a few examples:

1. They regularly compare Barbados’ democracy to that of Zimbabwe. Gee I don’t think that you will find the leader of the opposition in Barbados having any concern about being physically abused by the police at the behest of the Government. I don’t think that there are any laws making it illegal to criticise the government either. (Two features of government Zimbabwe style)

2. They equate a grass fire near the hotel of a prominent government critic with Arson. In case you aren’t familiar with Barbados it’s currently dry season. It hasn’t rained since the World Cup Final 🙂 grass fires are a dime a dozen these days and will continue to be until rainy season starts.

3. Somehow a lottery that is being set up by the Barbados Cricket Association (a non government entity) merits the headline: Owen Arthur Government Targets Bajan Wallets With 2,500 New Video Lottery Terminals – “A Tax On Stupid People

I’m still not sure how they reached that one! For the record there are several examples of sporting bodies having lotteries to raise money the most successful of which being the Barbados Olympic Association. How the government gets into this I’m not sure.

4. Their coverage of the cricket world cup was almost gleeful when it was clear that Noel Lynch’s overly optimistic projections would not be met. Wonderfully illustrated with pictures of exploding cruise ships. While anyone can see that CWC was not the bonanza that it had been billed to be, let’s just say you will be able to find more balanced assessments elsewhere.

5. In one of it’s earlier posts BFP accused a new high court judge of having a conflict of interest, by remaining a director of the Central Bank of Barbados. Having made all sorts of implied statements on the character of the otherwise blameless judge. It was revealed (by the same judge) that she had resigned from the Central Bank Board when she accepted her appointment to the bench. The extent of BFP’s “investigation” had been a quick check of the Central Bank website. I’d say that’s fairly a fairly cavalier approach before you slander someone who is completely innocent, and who’s reputation and ability to fairly conduct their job could be damaged by the smear.

Now in BFP’s defence, there is corruption in Barbados, as there is in every government. It’s an interesting feature of our evolving democracy that everything that before was only quietly talked about in living rooms can be posted in public without fear of reprisals (and if you are thinking of something sinister here I’m referring to the risk of being sued for slander). Maybe the politicians will think twice because their transgressions will be trotted out in cyberspace for all to see. (I don’t think so but we can always hope) but also its possible that people outside of Barbados may actually take the nonsense on BFP seriously and serious damage may be done to the island’s reputation.

The tragedy of Barbados Free Press is that the good that it might do in keeping politicians on their toes, is completely undermined by their almost total lack of credibility. Also the good that it might do might be completely cancelled out by the damage that it might cause.

The complete and total freedom that blogging makes available should be treated with a little more responsibility.

That’s just my two cents.

Marginal.

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23 Comments »

  1. You say that “It’s an interesting feature of our evolving democracy that everything that before was only quietly talked about in living rooms can be posted in public without fear of reprisals”.

    The fact of the matter is .. people are using words like ‘accountability’ because of BFP. If you are going to disrespect BFP, you had better have something to add to the conversation.

    From what I see Sir/Madam, you do not.

    Comment by T. Huntington — June 4, 2007 @ 5:31 am | Reply

  2. I am surprised you did not tackle their Islamic view?

    Comment by Ian Bourne — June 4, 2007 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. That website is as baseless as they come. One other example I remember clearly was when some startup NGO asked them for a sidebar link, and they pretty much splashed it on the blog making it seem like the NGO were thieves, and didn’t hesitate to name names and make an innocent email seem like a ‘conspiracy’. It totally digusted me and I’m certain it’s still there for the world to see – and the joke was that after NOTHING changed between the two parties, they later added a sidebar link and offered an ‘olive branch’, no doubt after irreparable damage was done to its reputation.

    Comment by Kim Fields — June 4, 2007 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  4. I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at the play this got on BFP. I just want to be clear, this is not meant to be the “Anti BFP”. There does seem to be an “Either/or” mentality in the comments on the BFP post. I think it’s more a case of “and”. Yes as you can see I disagree fairly strongly with alot of what’s on BFP, but that’s not meant to be my reason for being here. There will be times that BFP and NFTM “get into it” as they say, but hopefully we can have some meaningful discussions about stuff other than politics.
    T. Huntington, well I hope you’ll stick around to change your opinion. Ian and Kim, welcome aboard it’s going to be a long and strange trip (I hope 🙂 )

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — June 5, 2007 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  5. Kim:

    I suggest you go back and read BFP more often. Most of the content of the BFP is not from its moderators, but rather from Joe Public who posts. I think blogs like BFP, Bajan Reporter, Barbados Underground and hopefully Notes from the Margin will radically reshape politics and government in Barbados. I think 80% of the time BFP is spot on in its insightful and provocative analysis. I prefer to read BFP than the insipid stuff that fills the pages of the Nation and Advocate.

    Comment by Bajanboy — June 5, 2007 @ 3:32 am | Reply

  6. Hi Marginal:

    Welcome etc.

    Please note that in Barbados, you cannot be sued for slander. However, you can be sued for defamation.

    Regards.

    Comment by Researching — June 5, 2007 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  7. Now that I check, you are correct. Same effect though, publicly repeating much of what is in the rumour mill could end you up on the sharp end of the law court.

    Bajan Boy – 80% of the time? ^o) not sure if I would agree with you on that stat, but I will agree that the “wildest and woolliest” content comes from the comments.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — June 6, 2007 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  8. Hi Marginal:

    I actually expected you to amend the article and delete my comment. You are quite welcome (actually encouraged) to do so.

    Regarding your comment about ending up at the sharp end of the law court, I believe that there are sufficient defences in the 1996 Defamation Act. My problem with BFP is that they do not appear to regulate the comments that appear to be malice based for which there are no defences in the Act. Properly managing the comments can train their readers to comment responsibly.

    Best regards.

    Comment by Researching — June 6, 2007 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  9. Hey Marginal,
    It seems you are proved right about BFP and their hasty statements.The’ve just had to eat humble pie pver at their blog after wrongly accusing a guy of being a criminal.

    Comment by liquidsoap — June 7, 2007 @ 12:53 am | Reply

  10. […] With Barbados Government In New Gambling Operation Jump to Comments A Lesson For “Notes From The Margin” Blog – Who Wasn’t Sure How The Barbados Government “Gets Into” […]

    Pingback by Robert Johnson Pleased To Partner With Barbados Government In New Gambling Operation « Barbados Free Press — June 7, 2007 @ 3:18 am | Reply

  11. Quite Right Marginal:

    But you will find that asking SOME of the posters to consider any alternative to the ‘information’ that they post will meet with malice and namecalling. That’s just how they do.
    But they got a good thing going in the sense that YES they can make politicians (FROM BOTH SIDES) accountable but it must be balanced with other aspects of press to make it truly effective and truly ‘free’.
    I’ll check back to see who cusses me out.

    Comment by Caan Understand — June 7, 2007 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  12. I was going to run a main story on this but it just isn’t worth it.
    A quick search of Google showed that the Gleaner article was edited from a press release released on a pr newswire site. Here is the unedited release.
    Today, CAGE Barbados Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caribbean CAGE LLC, a division of The RLJ Companies, announced that it has been awarded a long-term management agreement for the installation and management of up to 2500 video lottery terminals (“VLTs”) on Barbados. This management agreement will allow CAGE to operate the connected and linked VLTs that will be installed over a three-year roll out period.
    “This long term management agreement is an integral step towards
    fulfilling our strategy of a significant presence throughout the Caribbean
    and Latin America,” noted Bob Washington, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Caribbean CAGE LLC.
    An official spokesperson from the BCA stated, “the Barbados Cricket
    Association looks forward to a long and successful relationship with Cage
    Barbados Inc., in the operation of video lottery games in Barbados, which
    the BCA hopes will redound to the benefit of both the BCA and its
    partners.

    “We are pleased to enter into a business relationship with Barbados.
    Our ability to drive returns is good for Barbados and good for CAGE,”
    stated Bob Johnson, Chairman of The RLJ Companies.
    CAGE currently operates VLTs in the Turks and Caicos Islands and St.
    Kitts. CAGE, headquartered in Puerto Rico, is well positioned to take
    advantage of the VLT market in the Caribbean to generate superior returns.
    CAGE anticipates beginning operations in Barbados by the 4th quarter of
    2007.
    You can find the page at http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-30-2007/0004598319&EDATE=
    I did, it took me two minutes on Google and this just proves my point about BFP. Quick to jump to conclusions, and sloppy sloppy research.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — June 8, 2007 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  13. Finally someone has said this! I thought I was the only one who thought this way!

    Well said!

    Comment by Comment Maker — June 13, 2007 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  14. Did anyone from freepress read today’s article about the VECO/Barbados PPP for the New Prison?

    Comment by Caan Understand — June 19, 2007 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

  15. What aspect of it? Other than being a BFP special 🙂

    Comment by Anonymous — June 20, 2007 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  16. […] we’ve voiced our opinion of BFP quite loudly on this blog. See our earlier post : The Tragedy Of Barbados Free Press if you are in any doubt. And as a response to a blog like BFP it’s actually fairly slick, […]

    Pingback by Barbados Free Press… Exposed? « Notes From The Margin — August 28, 2007 @ 1:39 am | Reply

  17. Notes From The Margin: “There’s another Barbados Blog online called Barbados Free Press. It’s wildly popular. I believe that it regularly makes WordPress’ top 100 blogs.”

    Where did you get that information from?

    Are you talking about THIS site? http://botd.wordpress.com/

    It seems that you, and possibly MANY others, have been DECEIVED by the serial liar at BFP.

    botd.wordpress.com is simply another WordPress blog which someone set up, just like you set up your blog. If you go to the main page of http://www.wordpress.com and check for statistics which they offer about blog activity, the only link which we have found is http://wordpress.com/stats/.

    Blog names in the WordPress community always appear BEFORE wordpress.com, such as:

    notesfromthemargin.wordpress.com

    bajan.wordpress.com

    barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com

    botd.wordpress.com

    Anything which is part of the official WordPress website will appear AFTER wordpress.com, such as:

    wordpress.com/stats

    wordpress.com/stats/traffic/

    As far as we at Barbados Free Press Exposed can see, you have been SCAMMED by the fraud at BFP to make his blog seem more important and influential than it really is.

    Yesterday morning BFPE launched THE SURGE!!!! against BFP. He has quickly closed his blog to open comments and enforced moderation of ALL comments from readers.

    We are working steadfastly to expose the full extent of BFP’s huge facade of LIES, DECEPTION and FRAUD.

    THE SURGE!!!! continues.

    Regards.

    BFPE
    http://barbadosfreepressexposed.wordpress.com/

    Comment by BFPE — September 16, 2007 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  18. BFPE your tactics do more to discredit the government than BFP could ever do.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 17, 2007 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  19. NFTM, I thought that your comment on BFP was well balanced.

    Comment by Linchh — September 18, 2007 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  20. Thank you Linchh, BFPE has just as many issues as BFP if not more.
    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 18, 2007 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  21. NFTM, BFP’s recent postings have displayed the classic symptoms of megalomania. What started out as an interesting source of alternative news has now demonstrates a complete lack of focus.

    Comment by Linchh — September 27, 2007 @ 3:51 pm | Reply


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