Editorial: Who is running the paper?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Letters-to-the-EditorFebruary 13, 2015
Dear Mrs. Sniffin,
I am writing to you to request that you remove Mr. Jorge Aldana as the political correspondent for your news outlet The San Pedro Sun. The decision to make this request has not been taken lightly and has been discussed and unanimously agreed upon by the People’s United Party Belize Rural South Executive.
This request is being made due to Mr. Aldana’s biased reporting and visible support of the United Democratic Party (UDP), especially the incumbent Mayoral Candidate Mr. Daniel Guerro. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen Mr. Aldana make several personal attacks on our Candidates and Personnel on his Facebook, all of which have been recorded. Mr. Aldana’s credibility as an unbiased journalist has further been damaged by a recording which was released on Facebook which clearly spells out his alliance with the UDP Mayoral Candidate. As if this was not enough we have received several photographs of Mr. Aldana driving the UDP Mayoral Candidate’s golf cart with all the flags on several occasions, which only further shows his relationship with the UDP Mayoral Candidate.
As such we must request that he be removed as the political correspondent for The San Pedro Sun. Only by removing him from that capacity can The San Pedro Sun remain a credible and unbiased source of news. I am sure that you can understand our concern and our request. I feel it is important to inform you that in addition to this request it was decided that the PUP Belize Rural South will refuse to work with Mr. Aldana in any capacity regarding politics as a result of the reasons mentioned above.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused by this request. We look forward to continue working with The San Pedro Sun.
Regards,
/s/ Santos Acosta
Deputy Chairman
People’s United Party
Belize Rural South Constituency

Who is running the paper?

It pains me to have to respond to this letter, because the entire scenario makes my blood boil and my pressure go up. I hate giving attention mongers even more attention (like the ones who use Facebook as a means to antagonize others) and I REALLY hate responding to Facebook Wars. Unfortunately, there are those who have been deeply sucked in to the ugly vortex of freedom of speech that social media allows, and yes, there is a time and place for personal opinion. Like it or not, social media IS the place for brutal honesty, lies, slander and personal vindication. It is also the place for photos of fluffy kittens sleeping in tea cups, sharing what you ate for lunch and daily feel-good affirmations. You can take it with a grain of salt, or you can allow it to ruin your life.

Having to write this also pains me because is it not the first time I have been forced to clarify this issue. The San Pedro Sun is owned and published by Ron and Tamara Sniffin, I am the Editor (Tamara Sniffin). The Associate Editor for The San Pedro Sun is Mary Gonzalez, who has worked for The Sun for almost ten years. All articles submitted for print by our staff reporters Jorge Aldana and Janelle Cowo are first proofed and edited by the Associate Editor. Once those changes have been made, I the Editor complete a final proof read before approving it for print. Aside from the obvious process of correcting grammar and typos, we are also cognizant of content, with the goal of publishing unbiased, non-partisan, factual articles. The ONLY place personal opinion is allowed in THIS PAPER is in editorials, letters to the editor and press releases.

In reference to the letter submitted to The San Pedro Sun by the People’s United Party Belize Rural South Constituency, IF Mr. Aldana is biased in his reporting it certainly is not allowed or condoned in our newspaper. What Mr. Aldana posts on his own personal Facebook page IS NOT what you call reporting. If at any time a reader believes that The Sun is guilty of allowing Mr. Aldana’s opinion to cloud the content of a story, then the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of this Editor. Your rebuttal or concerns are always welcome and invited. However, how Mr. Aldana expresses his personal opinions outside of the work place, or who he keeps company with is neither the responsibility nor the right to mandate by The San Pedro Sun. That said, we certainly do not agree with Mr. Aldana’s comments on social media and his behavior at times, and we are sorely aware that they can reflect badly on The Sun… case in point. However, readers must realize that the personal opinion of an employee does not mirror that of his employers, nor should they be grounds for dismissal. Despite the issues that some may have with his personal attitudes, he remains a valued employee.

Does the People’s United Party Belize Rural South Executive realize that they are in the same situation? Behaviors and comments by one or a few can reflect badly on their entire party. What if I were to say to them, I will gladly vote for you, but that ONE candidate has to go!

The San Pedro Sun maintains that Mr. Aldana will remain our senior reporter and we will be the ones to decide what stories he will report on.

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