We respectfully invite Prime Minister Patrick Manning to review his remarks about bias involving this newspaper in the coverage of the current general election. We do so after our own clinical analysis and in light of our time-honoured and much-cherished commitment to fairness, objectivity and balanced reporting. Indeed, such journalistic equity and impartiality are treasured hallmarks of this newspaper, having sustained and nourished our news values through the generations, dating back to 1917. We routinely and scrupulously evaluate our news product to ensure we uphold and propagate the principles and standards which we stoutly advocate and herald.
Against that backdrop, we wish to suggest to Prime Minister Manning that he may have rushed to hasty judgment in his platform assertion that this newspaper has been prejudiced against his People's National Move- ment (PNM) and the Government he leads. Mr Manning, speaking at a public rally two evenings ago, made sweeping allegations and tarred the Guardian newspaper and other print media with the broad brush of bias.
While we welcome any evaluation of our news reporting, we regret the Prime Minister's approach to critically reviewing the role, performance and objectivity of the fourth estate. Like our other readers, Mr Manning would surely recall that during the period under review there were public protests outside the PNM's Balisier House and elsewhere by party members pressing for the selection of their favoured candidates.
Some demonstrations were fairly noisy and all were full of colour and intrigue and deserving of close media reportage and scrutiny. They, after all, pertained to positions of power involving the ruling political organisation of the country. Reporting the news that's fit to print is an adage of this industry and that's simply what we undertook with respect to the PNM protests as, indeed, for the United National Congress (UNC) turmoil that followed. Mr Manning would also note that the controversial immigration issue pertaining to UNC strategist Bernard Campbell also took place during the cherry-picked period he identified. In other words, both the PNM and the Government, both institutions which Mr Manning leads, were at the centre of sharp national focus and, to some extent, political hullabaloo. We certainly invite examination of our work and, in fact, during an election campaign we expect such an appraisal, albeit a temperate and restrained analysis.
At the same time, we wish to gently urge Prime Minister Manning to note the political tinder box that the national society has become, with protests and pleadings for a better quality of life. It is the media's core function to report such activities in keeping with the entrenched ethics and canons of the journalistic profession. Against that light, Mr Manning should guard against shooting the messenger and against adopting a posture of victimhood, having already announced himself as a "vilified" Prime Minister. For our part, we reassert our obligation and steadfastness to the high watermark of journalism we have displayed through the decades, including during the coverage of more elections than we can easily count.
While we have many times before heard the lingo of media bias during such over-wrought periods, we urge restraint and moderation on political platforms, conscious of the feared ill impact on emotive partisans. We reiterate out commitment to impartiality and professionalism and carefully guard our independence.