Suffice it to say, we here at Cayman Free Press Ltd. believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press. However, we also keenly understand that with freedom of the press come tremendous responsibility to be accurate, balanced and fair in our reporting. Many readers naively believe most everything they read is true, especially when it’s well written with an authoritative voice.
Beyond being responsible for our own writings, we are also very aware that in this age of Internet blogs, forums and reader comments, we must be careful about the comments we publish from others. It’s not good enough to say everyone is entitled to express their opinion when those opinions include facts known to us to be untrue or even possibly untrue. Recklessly published opinions can not only damage individuals or businesses, but can also damage the Cayman Islands.
Last month, a woman called us from North American concerned about something she had read on an Internet blog that suggested Cayman had become a dictatorship. She was genuinely worried that her property here could be nationalised by the government. We assured the woman there was no dictatorship in the Cayman Islands and that what she had read was simply a gross exaggeration posted by someone who opposed the current government. She was relieved to know what she had read wasn’t true.
It’s one thing for members of the public, who aren’t trained in proper journalism practices, to write outrageous statements. It’s another thing for a media source to publish these kinds of statements, and they put themselves at risk by doing so. If Mr. Bush feels he has a legitimate complaint against members of the media, we acknowledge that his best recourse is through the Courts. We would much rather see this than for him to try other less democratic methods of muzzling the press, as authoritarian governments have done in other countries.