Op-Ed

178 years of The Nassau Guardian

The Nassau Guardian turned 178 years old yesterday. It is the oldest newspaper in The Bahamas. As far as we are aware, it is also the oldest business in the country. That this paper, formed out of a debate over slavery, is still here and vibrant nearly two centuries later, is an extraordinary accomplishment.

In 1837, Edwin Charles Moseley, a journalist who had worked at The Times in London, arrived in Nassau to take up his appointment as editor of The Argus.

After the liberal Sir James Carmichael-Smyth became governor in 1829, dissent rose in Nassau over the question of emancipation.

In 1831, a pro-slavery section of the community supported George Biggs in the establishment of The Argus in order to promote their anti-emancipation views. Moseley found the semi-weekly’s policies so objectionable, he refused to become its editor.

A number of citizens who shared his anti-slavery views urged him to publish what he referred to as a “journal in a proper manner”. Thus, The Nassau Guardian first appeared on November 23, 1844.

Today, we are a multi-media company. We are involved with print, radio, and the internet. Bahamians across the country have access to our reporting via these forms. People all over the world are able to read and watch our breaking news and daily reports.

What has not changed from our beginning is that we engage with the pressing matters of the day. It was slavery then.

Now, it is the issue of good governance. It is the issue of the economic empowerment of Bahamians. It is the crime problem that plagues New Providence.

It is the hardship faced by so many Bahamians grappling with high inflation and still dealing with the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A change in government in September 2021 did not magically make many of our national and personal challenges disappear.

As has been our primary focus over many years, we seek to provide accurate information in our reporting.

On rare occasions when we err, we recognize we have a responsibility to immediately correct the record and to put measures in place to ensure such errors are not repeated.

While we seek to be fair in reporting, we take positions in our commentaries — be they via our editorial page or when our editors offer their opinions in The National Review section.

Not unlike businesses across the country, the pandemic presented The Nassau Guardian with challenges, but we continued to publish, adjusted our schedules where appropriate due to lockdown orders, and kept our staff employed. We recognized throughout the crisis that the need for timely and reliable information was crucial.

During the last administration, the wicked decision of then-Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to withhold government advertising from The Nassau Guardian, the official gazette, to punish us for our criticisms of his administration, did not deter us in speaking truth to power.

Today, we do not face that kind of draconian and mean-spirited action from the current administration, but we have seen the daggers flying our way from certain operatives aligned with the Davis administration. Again, we will not be deterred, especially as media in The Bahamas has been weakened by the exit or many media professionals.

A democracy is weak when the press is weak, and we recognize the critical role we play in our democracy.

We are not concerned with public relations for any administration. We are not concerned with pushing any particular agenda. We are concerned with truth, with demanding accountability and with shining a spotlight on the darkest corners of government.

We are committed to telling the stories of our national life and of highlighting the human interest pieces that show the good so many Bahamians are doing, to remind that all is not lost, notwithstanding our many problems.

Once again, we thank our readers, listeners and viewers for engaging with our products. We thank our advertisers for spending a money with us. We renew our commitment to the most important principles of journalism as we work to keep your trust. We will do our best to continue to innovate. 

Be confident that just as we adapted to all the changes in the past 178 years, we have the skilled people to lead us through what is before us.

Again, thank you for your support. We hope to remain, in your minds, the best media company in the country.

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