Newspapers should not publish Bisram’s polls unless he has supplied the full results and answered questions about methodology, etc

Dear Editor,

Vishnu Bisram and NACTA continue to be the topic of outrage, consternation, concern and allegations of polling and opinion-taking fraudulence in many parts of the Guyana media. In a country where many engage in the psychology of self-fulfilling prophecies and innocently and ignorantly view information handed to them as gospel regardless of source, it is imperative for the news media which disseminate the results of these so-called polls by Mr Bisram and NACTA to get the whole truth and nothing but the truth before they publish these results or allow Mr Bisram to selectively disclose results in letters to the public. A letter from Mr Bisram outlining selected aspects of the poll is not enough. That selective and tailored approach is not good enough.  He must give the entire result and the background information for the poll to Stabroek News and other news organisations. Frankly, it is irresponsible for SN or any other news organisation to publish a Bisram and NACTA poll without seeing the full particulars.

Stabroek News or any other newspaper must, in the interest of fairness, justice, fair play and the need for full disclosure and the presentation of full information to the public, only allow Mr Bisram to publish the results of his and NACTA’s polls in their newspapers once he has provided the entire results of the poll and has answered questions about methodology, sample, who took the polls, etc. Mr Bisram’s bent is evident from his rantings and writings in the news media. This man is not impartial. No wonder his polls are often the subject of intense debate. Therefore, newspapers have a duty to their paying and reading public as providers of the news to ensure that poll results are not published until and unless pollsters and polling organisations present the entire results of the polls which include all the questions asked, statistical sample, methodology, etc. Mr Bisram must also disclose who paid for the polls and whether any particular political organization is receiving its results.

Further, Mr Bisram and others must indicate who did the polling by providing names and contact particulars so that Stabroek News and other news organisations can approach these people to verify that the poll was conducted as Mr Bisram claims. Mr Bisram and NACTA must also sign and swear a certificate explaining his polling methodology, sample, etc, and also confirm that his poll was conducted and results obtained in a transparent, fair and proper manner following accepted polling standards.

This would radically improve the situation that currently exists where political parties themselves have expressed concern about Bisram, NACTA and the findings. It would also enable the newspapers to add their own notes, explanations, clarifications and addenda to Bisram’s letters publishing the results of the polls in order to add balance, fairness and scope. It would also prevent Mr Bisram from conveniently and selectively withholding information in an attempt to drive an agenda. Mr Bisram seems to be the only polling outfit that operates in Guyana at present. We all know of his bias and partiality gleaned from his letters. It is time to put a stop to this nonsense. Only the newspapers can ensure that truth and fairness prevails.

And they must.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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