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turism&travel : Hawaii Governor's media blacklist includes eTurboNews Kamaainas?

Wednesday 09 February 2011

(eTN) - It appears not much has changed in Hawaii.
Governor Abercombie's idea of involving the public to participate is more or less a hoax. Fresh ideas are being ignored, emails are not answered, and phone calls to the Governor's office are not returned. New ideas from what the “good old boys” see as outsiders remain a threat in the Aloha State. And this does not stop at trying to silence the media.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, Press Secretary for the Governor, could not have made it more clear in a conversation with eTurboNews (eTN) Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, in which, according to Steinmetz, she stated: “We [the Office of the Governor] publish negative press releases, and it's a SECURITY ISSUE to invite some media like eTN to a media conference. The Governor's office news releases are mostly negative and not a good fit for a website like eTurboNews. We will not include eTN or Kamaainas on the list of publications that receives our media releases.” She went on to say eTurboNews was only a website and had no real journalists.

Steinmetz said: “This is the most outrageous comment eTN has ever received from a public official in our more than 10 years of being in business. I did not know it was the Governor's press secretary's job to decide what a publication should publish or not. It also appears Dela Cruz is a little behind the times, when saying electronic publications are not considered media and don't have journalists. ETN has never had a problem receiving information or media invitations from any government or private agency in the past.

"ETN has been very active in reporting news from around the globe. Our dedicated team of journalists in more than 80 countries are proud to be associated with our publication. Kamaainas is our latest edition for Hawaii and has an ever-growing readership with content not only relevant to the travel and tourism industry, but to Hawaii in general. Kamaainas news is independent and not driven on local revenue. ETN would not allow public entities or anyone to influence our content.”

Hawaii's closed-door politics continues. ETN's editor-in-chief had tried without success for a year to arrange an interview with Mike McCartney, president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. ETN tried unsuccessfully to schedule an interview with Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association President Mufi Hannemann after publishing a short story about Mufi's new position. ETN was told the Hawaii & Lodging Association is only a political institution and not relevant for a travel industry publication.

“In my opinion, this whole thing with the tourism budget is just entertainment for the public's sake,” Steinmetz said,” It's just business as usual within ‘the good old boys' network.”

The Governor's Press Secretary must have not paid attention to the Governor's pledge for openness. It appears only known and trusted friends are granted access to this administration.

Calls to Josh Levinson, Governor Abercrombie's Communications Director, and Laurie Au, Deputy Communications Director, have not been returned.

Emails posted on the Governor's "New Day" communication web portal are not responded to. Letters hand delivered to the Governor's office and faxes transmitted also have not received a response.

Ironically, Steinmetz still actively supports Governor Abercrombie and was a volunteer in his campaign. Steinmetz said, “It makes me wonder how his office deals with those who oppose him.”

Autor: eTurboNews