The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of a Channel 10 Miami News broadcast on Tuesday, 24 November 2020, in which the broadcaster erroneously reported on hugely inflated figures for COVID-19 infections in The Bahamas, while at the same time referring to a US travel advisory that, inter alia, advised its citizens not to travel to The Bahamas.
The reporter said that there were 7,460 COVID-19 cases reported in The Bahamas on Tuesday, when in fact the number for that day was 29. The 7,460-figure referred to in the broadcast was the total number of cases recorded in The Bahamas to that date. The news story was repeated on several social media outlets and at least one local news station.
One report suggested that the Ministry took no action to correct this mistake made by Channel 10 and the Ministry’s leadership in Miami was called into question.The Ministry wishes to inform that The Bahamas Consul-General in Miami had, in fact, immediately and appropriately contacted Channel 10 to point out the error. Channel 10 subsequently made a retraction the same day.
Furthermore, the Consul-General provided Channel 10 with the correct statistics for The Bahamas. The correction is on the website of Channel 10 and states, “Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that 7,460 cases of COVID-19 had been reported on Tuesday. That number is, in fact, the total number of cases that have been confirmed in the Bahamas to date. We regret this error.”
Unfortunately, as is usually the case in situations such as this, the correction gets very little publicity compared to the original incorrect reporting. The Ministry takes this opportunity to remind the general public of its press release of 23 November 2020, which provided the views of the Ministry on the US’s most recent travel advisory on The Bahamas. These travel advisories are normal and are done in accordance with US regulations. There is a US travel advisory on virtually every country the world. The Ministry remains engaged with the US Government, as it is with other Governments, to promote national interests and provide information about The Bahamas that will result in the most favourable outcomes possible for the Government and people of The Bahamas.