The job of a country’s newspaper is to make sure the people know what is happening in their country and around the world. The primary focus of any serious media publication should be to report the unadulterated and unbiased facts to the people.
The Jamaican Observer has proven time and time again that the news they bring or don’t bring to the Jamaican people is actually controlled by outside forces, powerful and wealthy outside forces.
A couple months ago, the Observer ran a story on the book, So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley, where it is alleged that Rita Marley had to serve breakfast to Bob Marley and his side chick in their bed. The Observer posted the story on their website in the morning but by the afternoon the story was taken down.
It was not a matter of defamation of character why the story had to be taken down because it was quoting from a book. If the story was false and there was some defamation, the Marleys would have to issue a cease and desist to the author of the book, not the Observer. So why was the story removed?
Fast forward to this week and we see almost the exact same thing happening again. On Tuesday morning the Observer ran a story on Wayne Perkins, a white man from Alabama who played guitar on Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Catch a fire” album. The story spoke about how Perkins did not get his musician credit for playing on the album. In other words, he was robbed the same way the Barrett brothers were robbed, in that they were paid as “work for hire” where they receive one-time payment for their work but no royalty from the sales of the music. So with all the millions that Bob Marley’s music is making today, the Barrett Brothers will never get another penny.
Wayne Perkins was in the same boat as the Barrett Brothers until high powered editors from high powered American magazines like Billboard and Rolling Stone threatened to expose the Marleys if Perkins did not get his musician’s credit. So as is always the case, the white musician is being paid but the Black musicians are not. “It’s a shame to see the old slave mill… grinding slow but grinding still,”
The Observer must have gotten a call from the Marleys like they did when they ran the Rita and breakfast in bed story because by midday Tuesday the story was taken down. The bad thing is, either the people at the Observer are stupid or they believe Jamaican people are stupid. They remove the story but they forgot to clear their cache, so two days after the deletion, if you search on the right keywords, the story still comes up in the search engines (See Below).
This is not about the Marley’s; however, this is all about the Jamaican Observer. How can a respected publication allow outside forces to dictate what information they give to the people. If the above stories are from the entertainment section and their arms can be twisted then imagine what is happening with serious news. Do they have to first clear their news with the major political parties before they can print it. When covering serious stories about how the country is being ran, do they first have to send a draft to Prime Minister Andrew Holness for his approval?
Who is really deciding what the Jamaican people are able to see in the news? For those reading the Jamaican Observer it might be time they think of making a switch but a switch to where, that is the question.