Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jamal to meet media association, TTPBA soon

Jamal Mohammed: "...the Government understands and appreciates the role of the media in our country".
Minister of Communication Jamal Mohammed issued a media release Saturday stating that press freedom is a constitutional right in the country and the Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) has nothing to fear.

His assurance was apparently in response to the TTPBA's request to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to clarify the government's position on press freedom. 

In a media release the association asked Persad-Bissessar to clarify the media issues so journalists can work in an environment "free from mundane speculation and unwarranted attacks.”

The TTPBA called the mijnister's letter to the TV6 head of news “unfortunate and distasteful,” and suggested that Mohammed's action actions and words "are considered to be reflective of Government’s position. In such a post we expect that one would be dispassionate.”

The organisation said a media house could take sides if it choses, adding that in every democracy comes under fire at one time or another for being politically biased.

“This is not unusual and it is an accusation that will never be discounted; it is a norm in a democracy. A media house can choose its style whether it be partisan journalism, investigative reporting or interpretive reporting, or yellow journalism. 

"At the end of the day the media must serve its role to inform the public. Government needs to acknowledge the media’s role too as a common carrier, whereby Government can also learn about the views of the public.

“Within recent times the media has been plagued and bombarded with allegations and inferences that have been conveyed in a manner that suggests freedom of the press may soon be a licensed privilege rather than a pillar of our democracy. We refer to the relentless treatment of our journalists, considered by Reporters Without Borders to be a “smear campaign.”

Mohammed said the Government "understands and appreciates the role of the media in our country". He also stated that he will be meeting with a delegation from the TTPBA and The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) "in a few days’ time to discuss issues relating to the media and its relationship with the State". 

He said, "The Minister of Communications is determined to maintain an excellent working relationship with the media." The minister added what has now become his mantra: “We may not always agree with all that is published or printed, but we will give our lives for you to have the freedom to express your opinion.” 

He noted that in June Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar addressed the closing ceremony of the International Press Institute Congress and re-affirmed her Government’s commitment to a free press. 

He quoted the Prime Minister: "In this moment of reflection and planning for our future, my solemn assurance as Head of Government is that this administration will protect, defend and uphold press freedom and the rights of journalists to ‘tell the story’. 

"This solemn assurance is also equally made to protect, defend and uphold the freedom of each and every single man, woman and child in our country. 

"We appreciate that a free press is an integral component of our democracy, as the voice of the population which is determined to ‘have a say’ on issues of national importance, and as a channel for important public debates on issues. 

"The free press is also what we all depend on to inform, inspire, monitor and support the interests of our citizens. In Trinidad and Tobago, the freedom of the press and of expression, are constitutionally guaranteed, regardless of whether it coincides or diverges with the views and priorities of the Government or of State institutions…We hold firmly to our commitment to Press freedom. 

"A free media that is responsible and sophisticated represents one of the binding threads that hold together our strong democracy. Press freedom is one of the pillars of our stability…." (Click here to read the PM's speech)

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai