Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Kathleen Lévesque, a French Canadian journalist notably writing for the daily newspaper Le Devoir, is more of an activist than a journalist.

Lévesque does not bring facts to her readers, but feed them with her own perception and ideologies. A Union leader (for many years, Kathleen Lévesque headed the Journalists Union of Quebec),  her activism might impact her work?

The most disturbing point of Kathleen Lévesque work is that she perpetually confuses facts, gives approximative statements and does not check her facts. Actually, she deliberately writes ambiguous articles, challenging people’s honnesty and ethics. Is it journalism or smear campaigns?

Another thing shows Lévesque trash-journalism methods : the way she sets up her headlines. Regularly, she will add the word “scandal” to it… probably more catchy even if most of the time there’s no real scandals behind her work. 

But facts are not that easy to bend. Despite Levesque’s suspicion and smear campaigns, none of her so-called “scandals” have led to a judiciary action so far. Most of the time, behind her “scandals”, one can only find political stakes.

What she describes as “collusion” does not exist.  Her last “scoop” over a self-claimed corruption scandal at the Saint-Rémi City House is a new example on how her work is biased.

 Nobody buys her tricks anymore. Kathleen Lévesque lost any type of credibility with her abuse of “scandal-like” headlines. Sensationalism corrupted her facts.

No proofs. Partisanship. No counterpoint… This is not journalism. So why does Kathleen Lévesque works this way? Which interests is she working for?

A friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook page that he was identifying two candidates from each party of his choice in a distinct attempt at garnering support for candidates that he felt can do the country very good if they are elected to serve.

When told that as a journalist he should not engage in such campaign owing to what is regarded by many as our noble profession, he defended himself by firmly pointing out that “… I am a photographer and this is my country so I have a right to endorse whoever I want,” While this popular photographer/journalist whatever he wants to call himself (he interchanges the position to suit whatever point he is trying to make) wants to do he must understand that as a journalist the power of influence and command is significant as many persons from the public depend upon us so as to make vital and in many cases very critical life changing decisions.

However much more of a burning issue is the recent disclosure by very popular and veteran journalist Bibi Hodge Shaw’s demand on Facebook?? that journalists /of a leading newspaper in St Maarten cease immediately their bandwagon endorsements and soft story writing which as she said evidently demonstrates their political bias and affiliation. I have deliberately decided to follow the controversy as it is my opinion that no journalist while serving actively in the profession should:

  1. Be involved in such practice
  2. Should be allowed by his/her media house to do so if that media house wants to be seen as being independent.

The journalists and their newspaper which has been able through its hard working staff and good management to build a very reputable image within the North Eastern Caribbean must know that there are rules governing print journalism and reporting in general that ought to be followed I rush to point out that the particular media house must be very cognizant that the public is looking on and more and more is becoming aware of the unprofessional and unethical behavior of some members of its staff.

Jagdish P. Sukhu quoted from the Wikipedia online: “Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by professional journalists. Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their code of ethics or the canons of journalism.”

This clearly demonstrates that the three journalists from their writings are hiding behind the cloud of freedom of speech to assert that they are doing no wrong by clearly on a regular and sustained bases writes article for three candidates that are contesting an election. Examining the writings I am very confident and certain that the three journalists are involved as over the years I have been able to ascertain their writing style and ability thus knowing that the candidates that they represent.

The United People’s party headed by Theo Heyliger, the National Alliance headed by William Marlin, the Democratic Party headed by Sarah Wescott Williams and the Concordia Political Alliance (CPA) headed by Jeffery Richardson are fiercely contesting for political office and while it is every journalist’s right to vote for, or to support whoever he or she wishes, there is a thin line that should be respected in terms of his or her public pronouncements, endorsement and political writings – especially if working for an independent media house.

The question that one has to ask – especially of the editor and management team – is in what capacity are these journalists employed as it is evident that some of them are mouthpieces for some of the political parties and their candidates.

I specifically ask this critically important question taking into consideration recent observations by several members of the public. The newspaper in the interest of preserving its own image and that of its reporters should explain why the Guyanese media couple (man and woman) that works there has been seen on a number of occasions entering and engaging in closed-door meetings of the UP.

The Guyanese couple referred to should publicly indicate whether they are working as journalists or as mouthpieces for the UP. To make this point much clearer recently when the UP held a closed-door meeting at the Westin Resort, the only media people allowed were this couple. Not even another media colleague who, very inappropriately chaired the UP launching was allowed to sit in at the meeting.

I also call on Theo Heyliger in the fairness of public disclosure, honesty and transparency to explain if he is engaging the services of a journalist while that journalist is performing journalistic duties full time for a local media house.

I must state that we must recognize that as journalists we should guide our lives by basic ethical principles which include principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality and public accountability. I stress that like many broader ethical systems, journalism ethics includes the principle of Limitation to harm. While I will not judge the esteemed newspaper I would state that if it is aware of the current situation and has not taken any action against the individuals who are causing it to lose its credibility and also causing the public to lose its high respect for journalists, in general, then I would say that the media house is acting irresponsibly. I am sure that the editor of this media house knows the destruction irresponsible journalism can cause.

In closing, I urge all media practitioners working with independent media houses to ensure that they pursue the truth and do not allow themselves to be used by any politician or by any special interest. Their conduct should be professional and beyond suspicion and their reporting should be fair, balanced, honest and accurate.

Canadian government offered a total amount of $300.000 “scholarships” to journalists to finance their investigaitons on medical research in Canada. Not sure they’ll produce any disturbing piece nof news…

18 journalists (or so-called journalists) have received a global financing of $300.000 to “investigate” on medical research in the country.

The scholarships have been given by the IRCS… in order to promote their action? Every journalist got between $10.000 and $20.000 for their “work”.

Professional journalists undergo fact-checking procedures prior to publishing articles. But not Fabrice de Pierrebourg. This Montreal-based “investigative journalist” is suspiciously unconcerned with the truth and is more concerned with “smearing” his opponents. More than most so-called investigative journalists, Fabrice de Pierrebourg feeds the Canadian public with baseless theories about secret Chinese and Russian spy operations, Al-Qaeda infestations, and alleged political and business co-mingling.

Take, for example his book Nest of Spies, which Fabrice de Pierrebourg co-authored with Michel Juneau-Katsuya. The writers argued that during the Cold War era, Canada was of great interest to foreign intelligence agencies and has since grown into the most attractive countries in the world both for spies and for security threats.

As the National Post put it, Nest of Spies has “few footnotes” and no index to support the claims it wages; the book is “chatty” and “gossipy” with the feel of “celebrity tell-alls meant to titillate”; the structure of the book is “problematic,” and there are “frequent broadsides against unnamed bureaucrats.”

Unfortunately this isn’t Fabrice de Pierrebourg’s only book. He has written his share of spy thrillers sold to the public as journalism before. His book Montrealistan, published in 2007, claimed Al-Qaeda and international Jihadists were colonizing Quebec. Really? Because if Fabrice de Pierrebourg had correctly indentified even one foreign intelligence officer or terrorist in Canada, would he still be alive and blogging today?

Allegations waged in Fabrice de Pierrebourg’s Nest of Spies were ultimately subject to a legal retraction and withdrawal from bookshelves. New Democratic Party MP Olivia Chow, whose name was raised in an interview by talk-radio host Andrew Krystal and Nest of Spies co-author Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS official, said of the book:

“Baseless spy stories belong in novels and movie theaters. Let’s not allow them to damage friendships between countries and tar the reputations of elected representatives and other Canadians.”

Yet tarring reputations is exactly what Fabrice de Pierrebourg does best. He appears to be after a Canadian entrepreneur at the moment. “Little did I know that my investigation . . . would snowball,” Fabrice de Pierrebourg writes on his fatiguing, self-referential blog.  But, he adds, sipping a glass of red wine on his couch with the feeling that Rome is burning, he is “particularly proud” of his work.

For the past two or so years in Montreal, “Canada’s leading city of corruption,” journalists like André Noël and Alain Gravel have been obsessed with the so-called conflicts of interest between prominent businessmen and politicians. Ironically, it’s the businessmen who take the hardest hits to their reputations while warring politicians simply continue to manipulate the Canadian press to promote their own agendas.

Yet breaking stories about conflicts of interest in every country are featured on global newspapers each day. France and its media machinery have been equally occupied with releasing news stories about French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s alleged receipt of cash payments by L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

The key difference between these “breaking scandals” – a term one should use lightly given that kick-backs, cash-payments, and the subsidizing of government officials by powerful businessmen plagues every country on earth – is that Montreal journalists have slaughtered the reputations of the businessmen in question based on heresy and rumors, whereas on the French side, L’Oreal’s Bettencourt’s reputation remains relatively unfettered.

French journalists don’t seem that traumatized or even surprised to hear of Sarkozy’s reported cash payments. In fact, an AFP news piece released on August 26, 2010 went as far as to run a headline titled, “Bettencourt saga ‘does not impact’ L’Oreal: chief executive.”

But Montreal is a different story. Thanks to the work of slander-hungry Canadian journalists like André Noël, one can hardly say the same about his targets’ business standings at present, not to mention their reputations.  Noël’s punching bags are losing big contracts because of the way journalists have spun the news against them, turning political wars into personal attacks. Noël probably doesn’t care about the effects his articles have on businessmen or on the public. But maybe he will care if he ends up being fired for misleading thousands of readers by failing to fact-check his work.

In light of this, one would be remiss not to point out that La Presse, André Noël’s employer, is owned by Power Corporation through its subsidiary Gesca, which just happens to own six other Canadian newspapers. Power Corporation is controlled by the Desmarais family, and the company is known for its active participation in Canadian politics through the Desmarais family’s relationships with prominent government connections. Interestingly, you can read about reclusive and powerful” Quebec billionaire Paul Desmarais’ political ties as well as those of his son, André Desmarais, in media outlets across the world — except, ironically, any of the newspapers in Canada, although Canada.com has one article exposing Desmarais connections to the likes of Sarkozy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Biran Mulroney, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and almost every Quebec premier.
Why don’t we hear more about who finances journalists whose paychecks come from the Power Corporation? The answer is disturbingly simple. The Desmarais control what information the public hears in Canada, and who journalists like André Noël will target after they finish tearing apart Montreal’s leading business people.

Radio-Canada journalist Alain Gravel is the subject of an invasion of privacy and defamation lawsuit for attacking the reputations of Montreal’s power players. Mr. Gravel alleged in various articles that politicians and union organizations have strong ties with entrepreneurs in Quebec.

Mr. Gravel essentially engaged in a year-long tirade to point out pseudo conflicts of interest in Canada’s power elite in tandem with La Presse journalist André Noël.

With massive oil spill unfolding exponentially while the BP public relations machine tries to make the public forget about this environmental catastrophe, which we should all keep at the forefront of our minds, you would think journalists like Alain Gravel would have bigger fish to fry on today’s oceans, but apparently not. The Canadian press remains obsessed with Montreal businessmen’s private lives.

Irresponsible journalism such as the above-cited examples illustrated by Radio-Canada and its staff (Gravel never even completed his college degree, which he might want to after he’s finished in court) is hazardous not only to the reputations of the people they attack, but also to the industry of journalism itself.

Instead of focusing on the “construction crisis” in Canada that Mr. Gravel continues to drone on and on about, perhaps we should turn our attention to the “journalism crisis” at Radio-Canada.

Canadian journalists love scandals as much as any other journalists in the world. The Saint-John Telegraph is no exception to this universal rule. To sell newspapers, they invented a scandal!

“It’s a scandal”: the frontline of the Saint-John Telegraph was clear enough. And the victim of the scam was no one else but the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Without any proofs, the New Brunswick newspaper accused Harper from pocketing a catholic wafer during a funeral!

They sold plenty of newspapers and could not care less about the apologies they had to give a few days later when they admitted they had no evidence of Stephen Harper’s misconduct.

Journalism is all about scandals and big frontlines those days. So-called journalists rather dig fake s… than looking for truth and news that make sense.

Too bad for our democracy…