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Journalistic Integrity and Reporting Facts

October 2, 2012


In every society, in every culture, the job of objective journalism is protect the citizens from excessive government powers and corruption within private and public domains. When certain individuals who purport to be the 'voices' of journalism, either as television news anchors or radio hosts, distort the truth or outright lie to their liste-ning audience, regardless of their intent, they damage the foundation upon which freedom lies.

Such was the case recently surrounding the case of Miami-Dade County against Rûlx "Ringo" Cayard, the former head of the now defunct Haitian American Foundation, Inc. who is facing grand theft and money laundering charges. While the case is still pending, and though it is true that some key witnesses for the prosecution have since recanted their original testimony, a well-known local radio personality recently reported that Cayard was found not guilty in a court of law and would be seeking restitution by suing the county for its prosecution of him.

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing this, was how it could even be possible that he was found not guilty, considering a formal trial date had not even been set yet, let alone finding a jury to hear the case. I did some investigating to get to the bottom of this and discovered that whatever this radio host had done, it was not in the best interest of his listeners as he did them a great disservice and certainly damaged his credibility and reputation as a reliable news agent.

Ringo Cayard is still facing felony charges, however due to the recanting of testimony by some of his former foundation board members, the prosecution has set forth an alternative offer of community service and fines for restitution. Prosecutors allege that Cayard siphoned thousands of dollars from contracts, meals for the elderly, and investment opportunities that were intended to help the Haitian community.

When such information as this case is readily available, it is extraordinary that a radio host would go so far as to make such egregious claims about it. Mr. Cayard's family has strong ties to the community going back many years and as has been seen throughout the ge-neral media in South Florida in recent years, this individual who announces the news seem to believe that he can manipulate justice by reporting half truths or keeping facts hidden from clear view. While that can be understood, if not condoned, outright lying to the public is a disgrace.

Whatever happens with the case of Miami-Dade County v. Ringo Cayard ultimately has yet to be decided. We hold nothing personally against Cayard or any other individuals facing prosecution. A person is deemed innocent until proven guilty in this country and that is one of the most important facets of the legal system. However, offe-ring honest, fair, and truthful news is a responsibility that is bestowed upon those who carry the torch of journalism and news.

It would seem that this radio host has close personal ties, or is rela-ted to, the accused and therefore thinks that spreading lies helps Cayard. It doesn't. This radio host spreading blatant lies for whate-ver purpose should apologize, set the record straight, and realize that honesty is the only foundation upon which people begin to listen to him.

Without trust, journalists do not fulfil their public responsibilities. This individual needs to remember that People won't respect you before you prove to them that you are worthy of being respected.

Dessalines Ferdinand

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