John M Scott: Disallowing nom de plume letters

Saturday September 05, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I read with dismay that part of your editorial (September 2) which announced the retention of the policy disallowing nom de plume letters to the editor.

As one of the early protestors of this short-sighted policy (CIs News 14.06.19),  repeated in another on 16.07.20, I now, again, add my voice to those who have urged a rethink of this indefensible additional shackle on freedom of expression in a society whose leaders are consumed by their own self-serving agenda which brooks no tolerance of any view, other than their own and their political survival.

With the power of the State and meek, intimidated or politically aligned dependents at the helm in many agencies it is a simple matter for those who place the value of a free and open democratically inspired intellectual exchange  and the bests interests of the Cook Islands behind their own interests, to engage in subtle, and often not so subtle, acts of reprisal and retribution.

That is why Iaveta Short got it so right in his opinion piece suggestion (CIs News 27.08.20) that certain strategic public sector positions would benefit enormously from an imported incumbent who was beholden to no-one and why his recent critic (CIs News 31.08.20), who found such a notion so offensive, is completely removed from the reality of what is occurring around us.

I never did really warm to Cook Islands News’ daily headline reminder of its credo – Solid as the Islands we stand for – nonetheless putting the most favourable construction upon it is my view that this policy intransigence is inconsistent with the doctrine you intended to project.

There is nothing solid or supportive about what is tantamount to an unintentional pandering to Government’s growing propensity to control our thinking and what people hear and read. You have it within your paper the opportunity, ability and editorial licence to change some of that so do it because, otherwise, and history has shown us, you will never achieve that idealistic goal of  becoming “the platform that will empower people to speak up etc”.


John M Scott


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