Today’s Editorial August 16: Live press briefings welcomed

The announcement that the weekly Cabinet press briefings are going to be aired live on Radio Cayman and television station CITN is welcomed.

Those in the public who are interested in what our ministers have to say can tune in and hear first-hand questions from reporters and answers from Cabinet members.

And if they miss the live broadcasts, they’ll have an opportunity to listen again when the briefings are rebroadcast.

While the news is welcomed, it is going to take some juggling to get all of the questions asked and answered within the allotted hour.

One thing that will help is the rotation of Cabinet ministers.

We think a moderator may also be in order, especially to stop some of the long winded self-serving questions.

We are not proposing that the number of questions asked be limited, but some questions at past media briefings from some media houses have become lengthy statements

As journalists it is our responsibility and duty to ask the questions that most affect our readers and viewers.

After all, that is our job. We are gatekeepers whose job it is to disseminate information from Government to the residents and citizens of the Cayman Islands.

We wonder if an effort is going to be made to define exactly what a journalist is and if journalists will be required, in the future, to show official Government Information Services press passes.

The briefings are not open to the public; only to journalists.

It may seem silly to pose the question about press passes since Cabinet ministers and GIS personnel already know most of the journalists on the island.

But if someone starts up a newsletter discussing Government actions, does that make them a legitimate journalist?

We don’t think so.

In addition to airing the briefings live, the time and date have been changed to 10am Thursday.

We certainly welcome that change, as it means our loyal readers will be able to get information from us about the briefings the next day. Readers won’t have to wait until Monday to read what went on.

As all good, thorough journalists do, we will follow up with the ministers on issues we think need more explanation.

The real winners in all of this are members of the public who will be getting accurate information faster.

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