That programme, According to the president of the St. Kitts and Nevis Media Association, Clive Bacchus, would examine the most asked about questions by journalist on the topic of balance reporting and security during elections.
“I believe the media association will soon convene a meeting to discuss the upcoming elections and to discuss the whole issue of covering elections… You have experienced journalist, but you also have the new ones,” Bacchus said.
He added that there are journalist and media entities who sometimes are “not interested” in any training as it pertains to elections, while others are discouraged from “mingling” with other media workers.
Bacchus said there will be a training programme before elections for interested journalist about their roles during season, adding that such persons will be trained from a handbook that deals with elections in the Caribbean.
“The role of the media is to report on elections in a fair and impartial way to ensure that they reports are researched, and people are given a chance to rebut accusations and to try, as much as possible, to not contribute to any disorderly conduct during the elections,” Bacchus said.
Bacchus, who is also a radio talk show host and journalist, explained to this online media entity that several of the local media houses sometimes do not follow the same procedure of delivering fair and balance information to the public.
“Well, the media in St. Kitts, I believe you have people who are supporting political parties, and they make no bones about it. So, you don’t have at the moment many media houses, in my opinion, who are seeking out both sides of a particular story,” Bacchus said.
The radio talk show host further stated that for those journalists who seek the opinions of both sides, as it pertains to an article, they are often time plagued with the issue of respondents refusing to comment.
“They encounter difficulties because there are some people, officials from the political parties, that choose who they want to speak to and who they don’t want to speak to, because they intend to label media houses as either pro-government or anti-government,” Bacchus said.
He added that there is a need for more work to be done to introduce a common standard that the media should follow as it pertains to not only the issue of politics but an elections season.
“The idea of balanced reporting is that you want people to know that there are also two, sometimes three sides to a story. If you only give one side then you’re not getting the whole story,” Bacchus noted.
In relation to Journalist not being able to seek a comment from “the other side” of the story, Bacchus suggested that journalist should try their best to complete the article, rather than having it waiting for completion.
“That has proven to be a problem with media houses across the Caribbean, including those in St. Kitts and Nevis as well, where as the follow up story is difficult to obtain and if you follow up to long after, then you have to rethink your strategy when it comes to writing that story,” Bacchus said.