Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kamla slams "rogue" elements in the media; reaffirms support for media

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar: "...some so-called media professionals...have now resorted to even distorting the facts."
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday called on the media in Trinidad and Tobago to maintain the highest standards of journalism and reaffirmed government's support for freedom of the media, which she noted is guaranteed in the constitution. However she said with that freedom comes a serious responsibility to all citizens. 

Speaking at a political meeting at the Carapo R.C. School in the D'Abadie/ O'Meara constituency in her dual role as PM and political leader of the United National Congress (UNC), Persad-Bissessar made it clear that she was not attacking the media.

"l am not afraid of taking the risk associated with saying the following, which is by no means should be construed as an attack on the media freedom but the evidence before me is troubling and it should trouble all of us as citizens," she said.

"The fourth estate as journalism is in itself a political force in any democracy, and its integrity is based on being fair and unbiased.

"And when that integrity is under attack by a few rouge elements within the profession, we are all at risk, no matter what side of the political divide you stand on.

"The evidence we have been seeing is that some so-called media professionals...have now resorted to even distorting the facts," she declared.

Persad-Bissessar said, "We need to take the profession of reporting to newer heights of personal and institutional professionalism and excellence". She said the duty of the media goes beyond its role to inform and educate. "It is equally the duty of the media to be fair and to be truthful," she said.

The Prime Minister stated that she wants no war with the media. 

"Over the years, I am proud to say that I have built relationships and consider the members of this fourth estate to be patriots, who work hard despite the lack of financial gain to help build a functioning and successful democracy.

"We have declared no war with the media.
May I remind you that this Government recently funded the meeting of the International Press Institute in Trinidad at a cost of $300,000," she said. 

She urged the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) to be more than just a group seeking the interest of media practitioners. 

"I call on the independent Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, to not only be a watchdog body in defence of journalists, but also hold some of its members accountable for either wilfully or unwittingly misinforming the society," she said.

"I call on MATT to be more than defenders of journalists, but also uphold old-fashioned journalism, in which the naked facts represent the holy grail."

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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