Professor emeritus of criminology Ramesh Deosaran yesterday issued a release calling for greater introspection on the part of the media in examining their relationship with criminal elements.
In the release, Deosaran says while he acknowledges the importance of a free and independent press, there was need for editors to “think and act as citizens,
when editing stories relating to gang leaders.”
He also said that gang leaders relied heavily on popularity as part of their influence and urged media houses to be mindful that some stories can further empower gangs.
Adding to remarks from Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, who questioned the need for the media to highlight the views and opinions of reputed crime figures, Deosaran said media publicity also unwittingly helped attract new recruits to commit crimes.
“Commissioner Griffith should add to his comments the extent to which widespread media publicity of gang suspects unwittingly helps to perpetrate the bejewelled gang culture and attract recruits.
“This is where the media and the general public would have had a better understanding of the Commissioner’s gangster challenges. And further, help encourage the media, in addition to their press freedom defence, think among themselves whether a more judicious crafting of gangster-related stories is justified in the dangerous circumstances facing the country.”
Despite this, Deosaran maintained that allegations of police “mishandling” of the children of Sea Lots resident Cedric Burke should be reported and said the involvement of politicians both past and present in criminal gangs should also be highlighted.
On Monday, Griffith appeared on a morning television talk show in which he chastised the media for giving attention to reputed crime figures and accused media houses of unfairly reporting on last week’s raids.
Deosaran’s full letter will be published in Thursday’s Newsday.