Some time back I wrote about the ill-treatment journalists are subjected to worldwide in the performance of their duties. I was particularly concerned about attacks, verbal or otherwise, from so-called respected and respectable people. In my Reporters and Journalists, beware I mentioned the case of a journalist treated as “stinky Gypsy” by a head of State.
Today I have to concede that my own country is no exception. The Editor-in-chief of a private radio purports to have been victim of hostile attitude from a senior minister yesterday. He says having suffered verbal attacks as he was soliciting him, after an agreed schedule, for a live reaction to the comments made in a radio interview earlier by a former Finance Minister, now a member of the opposition. The Minister, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was furious and used aggressive tone against the radio team which was already at his office for relaying. He refused to be interviewed and threw them away with the argument that they had no appointment, the Editor-in-chief said in the 8.00 am news today.
The ex-Finance minister, who was dissecting the measures contained in the budget presented on 15 June, severely criticized the actual minister to the extent of calling him a bluffer for having, according to him, manipulated the figures relating particularly to foreign direct investments. He was also very critical on what he referred to as “earlier harvest” for the minister’s assertions on the country’s rapid economic recovery. It seems these blunt criticisms have annoyed the minister.
The Editor-in-chief maintains having, as a responsible and respectable media person, made prior arrangements with the Minister for a live interview to be broadcast at 5.30 pm following the statements of the ex-minister. The radio has been mentioning about this event since more than two hours in its hourly news, at 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm, and also at 4.30 pm when the evening news of the day was being broadcast.
The Minister denies having agreed for an interview and believes there was a misunderstanding.
The Mauritian Association of Journalists has expressed its solidarity with the Editor-in-chief and urged for a better relation with the press from all quarters. The freedom of opinion is guaranteed by the constitution of the country.
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].