News blackout

The people of Guam tune in to the governor’s daily press conference not only to catch daily updates on the status of Covid-19 pandemic, but also to get information that is relevant to their quarantined life. For pure entertainment, there is Netflix.

There are two main questions that matter to the people of Guam right now: When do they get to see their stimulus funds? (For one followup question quota per reporter: What are the administration’s actual plans for the federal aid package?) What is the role of the governor’s chief of staff in this whole Covid-19 pandemic response program? (Followup question: Why the hell are we shouldering the cost of his sweet suite life at the Pacific Star?) The public has the right to know.

Shockingly, the reporters who asked the questions were shushed outright at Thursday’s press conference. Adelup deemed the questions irrelevant to what administration officials wanted to discuss. Prior to the press conference, the reporters were instructed to limit their questions to the recovery plan, as if there is a shortage of information that it needs to be rationed. Rationing is applicable only to Spam and toilet papers.

We must have missed the fine print; we didn’t know journalistic restraint was included in the list of restrictions under the governor’s public emergency declaration.

“When the world is no longer safe, journalists are the people’s lifeline to the world,” reads a caption on Reuters’ video tribute to journalism. Reporters ask the questions on behalf of the people, who otherwise wait for a ghost to answer the phone at government agencies. Being censored during a live streaming press conference is like being robbed in broad daylight.

But even if you suppressed these questions, they will not go away. Dodging them will be remembered in the next elections.<