I work for government. That means several things. One of them was this: when it happened, I didn't feel at liberty to comment on the acquisition, in July 2007, of the Nassau Guardian by the Tribune Media Ltd.There was plenty of noise about the merger, but most of that was sound and fury, signifying nothing, as most noise in The Bahamas tends to be these days. Probably the best post about the issue can be found here. Illuminati wrote:
On the surface it looks like a rather benign business arrangement created to save the big dailies some money by combining resources and physical operations.But is it even a JOA?A true joint operating agreement (JOA) is usually formed to protect a business from failure, yet prevent monopolization within an industry by allowing each party to retain some form of separate operation. JOAs are used in the newspaper, health care, gas and oil, and other industries.In a small town, like Nassau, where the business community is basically controlled by a closely knit group, it is hard to see how such an arrangement will benefit anyone but the media moguls themselves.
"Leading corporations own the leading news media and their advertisers subsidize most of the rest. They decide what news and entertainment will be made available to the country; they have direct influence on the country's laws by making the majority of the massive campaign contributions that go to favored politicians; their lobbyists are permanent fixtures in legislatures. This inevitably raises suspicions of overt conspiracy. But there is none. Instead, there is something more insidious: a system of shared values within contemporary Bahamian corporate culture and corporations' power to extend that culture to the Bahamian people, inappropriate as it may be." -- with apologies to Ben Bagdikian from Media Monopoly.
Now, six months later, we appear to live in a country where freedom of the press may be a moot point. The fact is that whether the press is free or not, it appears uninclined (or unable) to carry out the kind of investigative reporting that allows for analysis and sensible discussion of those issues. Maybe that means that worries about a news monopoly (worries that, admittedly, I shared back in July) now seem specious. A gossip monopoly, perhaps, considering the tendency of too many papers these days to print first, confirm facts after. But a news monopoly?The problem is, whether the Tridian is printing news or gossip, what Illuminati quoted back in the summer is still worth considering -- that news monopolies decide what news and entertainment will be made available to the country [and] have direct influence on the country's laws by making the majority of the massive campaign contributions that go to favored politicians.But here's the interesting thing. Six months after the merger, neither the Tribune nor the Guardian is leading public opinion with regard to Junkanoo, the biggest newsmaker of any year. No. The Bahama Journal is the paper that's doing that, at least for now. Is this a sign of things to come?