To my micronational colleagues, and readers of Béal na Tíre,
Articles have been disseminated on the Micronation.org site, the main platform through which the Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata has established its online presence, concerning the Office of the Austenasian Prime Minister. The articles, on “themicronational” and “The Daily Micronational” suggest that the position of said office is untenable given the mandate which elected the Prime Minister is now a fraction of the current population, though the latter article is not relevant to my analysis below. The point being made is somewhat valid, given it was under those pretences that the last election was called. However, I take issue with the way in which this story has been covered by “themicronational”.
Before I share my views on this issue, let me clarify that I feel a micronational media outlet, be it tied to a particular state or not, is perfectly entitled to cover the domestic affairs of another micronation, with or without their authorisation. Indeed, Béal na Tíre did just that this year when it covered the coup in Grémmia. What I take issue with is when the views given in such an article are imbalanced in order to give the reader a certain viewpoint rather than allowing them to weigh out the facts.
The article by “themicronational” is written with a desire to see Prime Minister Kennedy ousted, to be frank. I take issue with the sourcing in this article. It is stated that “many suspect he will not be re-elected”, when it is not made apparent if this is the view of Austenasian citizens, or members of the micronational community, who would most likely not be able to participate in such an election. In addition, the “wide international criticism” mentioned is a highly deceptive phrase. By no means is this criticism wide; it is not criticism made by micronationalists of different ideology or experience, the criticism is mainly if not solely made by newer members of the Micronation.org community. Lastly, it is said “some have questioned if he is a suitable candidate for PM”, a phrase not to be trusted as no example of such opinions are given. The views of a few individuals are expressed in this article as a widely held belief among micronations in the Micronation.org community. A balanced article must contain a selection of views representing both sides of a story, and I’m afraid I’m only hearing one side of the story in this article. If you are in any doubt of this fact, it is clearly stated in the article that the publication endorses Kennedy’s predecessor over him.
The slant in this article is clearly one firmly against Prime Minister Kennedy. Let me state my complete confidence in Mr. Kennedy and his ability to carry out his office, an ability called into question by this article and only softened by passive acknowledgement of his achievements. Mr. Kennedy is a politician of strong views, and does indeed have a habit of saying things as he sees them. However, I feel these are qualities that must be admired in an age of unclear principles and excessive political correctness among politicians. He has a strong record of accomplishments in the micronational sphere and particularly in Austenasia which should not be overshadowed by what are minor incidents of such petty proportions as unsuccessful pranks and strong language. Indeed, all sorts of names have been given to that botched prank, in an effort to make it relevant when it is simply a misfortune of the past which must be moved on from. Mr. Kennedy has been a pleasure to work with in the numerous occasions I have encountered him, when I served as a minister under his premiership in Ashukovo, and when I served as GUM Media Secretary under his Chairmanship. He has always been approachable and good to work with in terms of the Confederation’s strong bilateral ties with Austenasia.
This article is a sign of the divisions that exist between older and newer micronations in the Micronation.org. The labels “Old Guard” and “New Guard” have been used with increasing (and alarming) frequency in the past year. In my view it is regressive and pointless to identify such divisions. Have we not learned countless times in both micronational history and indeed world history that co-operation is the solution, not division? If one has been wronged, one should seek resolution and not hold a grudge. I call for the terms “Old Guard” and “New Guard” to be abandoned, because they identify, and also create, artificial divisions.
Lastly, while I agree completely, as said before, that a micronational media outlet is entitled to report and comment on the domestic affairs of another state, I disagree with using a supposedly impartial media outlet to directly influence the domestic affairs of that state. This article clearly seeks the removal of Kennedy from office and his replacement with a more preferable candidate to the micronationalist concerned. I once again state my complete confidence in my Austenasian colleague, and I call on readers of micronational publications to be aware of when what they are reading is balanced reporting and when it is merely a tool to advance the writer’s views through the veil of news.
I wish you all a Happy New Year, I hope your nations experience much prosperity in 2016!
-Fionnbarra Ó Cathail