Wed | Jan 20, 2021

Mr Matalon should retract endorsement

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:09 AM


Joseph Matalon is a business­man. However, he is also the chairman of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group. So how does he appear on Mark Golding’s campaign endorsing him for the post of the president of People’s National Party (PNP)? The endorsement was made during Golding’s campaign launch.

If he has endorsed Mark Golding, he has endorsed the People’s National Party as well. In doing so, Mr Matalon has shown very poor judgment. It is among the most displeasing behaviours I have ever seen coming from the head of a media organisation.

Jamaica is a small society, and most persons have their preferences as to which political party they support, so it is not strange that Joe Matalon supports a party. However, being a the chairman of a media group means that you must appear to be non-affiliated, unbiased, and non-aligned.

The thing about the endorsement, too, is that it has not helped The Gleaner’s cause. There is a broader perception that The Gleaner has a bias towards the PNP, so Joe Matalon’s endorsement, in the public’s mind, has sought to confirm that.

It is unfair also to the staff of The Gleaner, who have been put in a very difficult situation. How do they now operate with good conscience and level-headedness, knowing that whatever they produce will be read with a grain of salt because of Joe Matalon’s endorsement, putting the independence of The Gleaner at risk?

Is it a case where T he Gleaner now comes under pressure from the group chairman to write in support of his endorsed candidate and at the same time write negative stories about his opponents?

It is only right that these questions be raised because if Joe Matalon has given such an endorsement, it is only right that we know how the endorsement will be manifested at the entities that he heads, particularly The Gleaner.

What will happen if Mark Golding becomes the leader of the opposition and contests an election? Will we get another endorsement for Mark Golding at that time as well?

Joe Matalon, as the chairman of RJRGLEANER Communications Group, should immediately retract his endorsement and apologise to the public because this is not what we expect from the chairman of a media house.