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June 2000 Vol. 15, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Independent Journalism on Bonaire

from the June, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

If you would like to know what the diving industry thinks of independent journalism (such as Undercurrent), let us tell you about a Bonaire publication, the Bonaire E-News. E-News was once a wonderful little weekly e-zine put out by Bonaire residents Jake and Lynda Richter. This internet-only pub covered all the news on Bonaire so that those of us who like to keep informed could do so easily. But then, as we’ve learned from several sources, the tourist industry started raising holy hell. You see, they didn’t care that E-News talked about new hotel or restaurant openings, dive festivals, and the like. Nope. All they cared about was that the publishers had the temerity to let people know that storms had battered coral, that the police seemed to ignore crime (and might even be a bit corrupt themselves), and, in short, that Bonaire might have a blemish or two. Instead, the industry insisted on enforcing its tacit policy of ignoring the problems (even denying them in front of a lot of folks at DEMA meetings) and hoping the tourists wouldn’t notice. The tourist industry, of course, isn’t comprised of local folks, but the gringos that represent operations like the Habitat are members of the Tourist Board — you get the drift. By being nasty enough, these folks got their way, and the publishers folded their tent. The incident reminded me of a story we covered a little more than ten years ago when two female tourists were murdered months apart on Bonaire. No one would talk to us about it, especially the police, but to us it seemed like something tourists ought to know about. One way or the other, we got the story. Ten years later, the problems are no different. We’re sorry to see the E-News go. It makes us want to plug away all the more.

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