Monday, August 03, 2009

One Bad Apple Spoils The Bunch

By John Dela Rosa - Guam News Factor

GUAM - In our ongoing effort to bring our readers the most timely and updated information and to expand the dialogue in which we as a community participate, Guam News Factor requested to be added to each local senator's media distribution list in order to receive media releases and advisories.

Less than two hours later, we received an email response personally from Senator Matt Rector stating:

"This office only includes what we consider legitimate media organizations in our media releases. If you want more information on our media policy or the activities of our office feel free to go to our website"

Senator Rector's email also was cc'd to every other senator as well as sentorial staff members.

With respect to Mr. Rector's reference to "legitimate media organizations," and given his public refusal to grant interviews to the Pacific Daily News -- one of Guam's most established and respected news organizations -- we can only assume that "legitimate", as defined by Rector, means any organization that promotes or at the very least does not oppose his public policy positions.

While it comes as no surprise to the Guam News Factor team that Senator Rector would refuse to provide us with information that he clearly intends to make public via press releases and advisories, it is still unacceptable.

As an elected official, Senator Rector has a responsibility to answer to his constituency for his actions, bills, statements and positions. He was elected islandwide to promote the interest of all, including those who did not vote for him, or do not support his policies or actions, as well as the media who challenge his position on the issues.

Just as his position as senator is constitutionally founded, created by Guam's Organic Act, so to is freedom of the press an established right founded in the Constitution. His blatant dismissal of anyone's inquiries and his censorship of the media flies in the face of his responsibilities as an elected public servant and shows a dangerous disregard for the office he holds and the democracy that allows him to hold that office.

Mr. Rector must clearly separate his interests as the president of the union from his responsibilities as an elected official. And if he is unwilling to do so, the leadership of the Legislature has an obligation to require it. His actions as a member of that body have the potential to reflect poorly on the integrity of the whole if the legislative leadership allow it to continue.

As for the Guam News Factor, we will continue to bring new perspectives to the issues that matter to our community, even if some try to censor that dialogue.
Senator Rector, shutting out some from the information that should be given to all only raises suspicions about what you have to hide. The people of Guam deserve the full story, and Guam News Factor is committed to helping bring that story to them.

Jac Perry contributed to this opinion/editorial.

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