OBSERVER vindicated

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Our special investigative report on the Wadadli Power Plant in The Daily OBSERVER of Monday, June 18, 2012, did have its share of critics, though admittedly few.

We shall pay little attention to the fact that most if not all of those critics are anything but impartial or unaligned. They turn any discussion of the Wadadli Power Plant controversy into a savage political dogfight.

OBSERVER has no such motives, whether for or against, and we stand on neither side of the partisan corral over which the Wadadli gunfight is being pitched.

Our aim is simply to seek out and publish the truth, a task for which those in authority – whether APUA or government – seem determined to give us no assistance.

It is conceivable that were it not for our cited investigative piece, APUA would have continued to maintain its aloofness and refuse to answer any of the many lingering and very troubling questions about the Wadadli Power Plant.

If our recalled article did nothing more, it was still of inestimable value in bringing down at least a small section of that rather adamant wall of silence. In short, we believe we flushed them out.

And in doing so our investigative article was vindicated, despite the baseless but convenient claim by certain spin doctors that it was “opinionated” and riddled with “speculation.”

We said the Wadadli generators were not insured. Lyndon Francis confirmed that indeed they were not. We said that several of them had been shut down – at times as many as five out of the six. Francis again confirmed that we were spot on.

We said there were technical problems behind the engine shutdowns. Lyndon Francis confirmed this. We said one of these technical problems had to with an issue involving lubrication oil. Lyndon Francis and Brian Nicholas confirmed this, providing further details.

Significantly, not one of the critics could point to any specific examples in our article where we had presented opinion as fact, as our article was based on information from sources that we knew to be credible, trustworthy and reliable – some of them from within APUA itself.

The main bone of contention with some was that our entire article was based on attributions to these unnamed sources, without so much as one actually being named.

But we are a responsible news medium and will never compromise on the principle of not betraying confidential sources. Neither will we hold back what we know to be sound and verifiable information merely because we can not name our sources.

After all, they entrusted us with the information precisely on the basis of this commitment, that we would not place their livelihoods and maybe even their personal safety at risk. This is how high stakes the Wadadli matter has become.

Significantly, none of the critics could fault our article on points of fact, but on subjective peripheral issues of writing style which they consider to be “editorialising.”

The article contained no insertions of our own comments, only those conveyed to us by our sources, some of which were analytical based on the information obtained.

The presentation did not in any way alter the material facts presented, concerning what has clearly gone wrong with a power plant that was commissioned as brand new just nine months ago.

To those in authority, APUA and government, we say if you have a problem with speculation then neutralise it with information; not just the tell-us type of information you attempted on February 6 at a so-called press conference.

We insist on getting the show-us type of information that we have requested in the form of documents and a see-for-ourselves tour of the plant, accompanied by experts of our choosing.

We are less interested in what you choose to tell us than in what you are probably not telling us. That is the maxim of all serious journalists and media houses of the real world.

Speculation is the unavoidable bastard child of information suppression and obfuscation.

APUA and the Prime Minister’s Office have conjugated well in maintaining this illicit defiance of our Freedom of Information Act. If anyone needs to turn a corner in this regard, it is they who must – and rapidly.

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