Thursday, May 2, 2013

Journalists under threat in many countries; T&T media remain free: PM Kamla

L-R: Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed; IPI Executive Director  Alison Bethel McKenzie;
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar; Kiran Maharaj, Wesley Gibbings and AG Anand Ramlogan
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Wednesday the media in Trinidad and Tobago remain free and protected in the constitution.

She made the comment in a media briefing on the eve of World PRess Freedom Day which is celebratioed internationally on May 3.

She noted the significance of the day, which she saiod is special and should be treated as such in order to help raise awareness on the importance of the freedom of the press.

"(It) serves as a reminder to all of the tenet expressed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which places a duty on democratic governments to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression," she said. 

"In the 21st Century, there are nations which place a vast number of restrictions on the dissemination of information via the press." she said censorship techniques include control of the media by the State, the blocking of  websites and satellite broadcasts, imprisonment of journalists and in some instances more violent techniques.

"There is a plethora of statistics to show countries where journalists are under threat in oppressive countries
  • In 2012, an estimated 133 journalists have been killed worldwide and the breakdown of figures include 2 from the Caribbean, 3 in Europe, 23 in the America, 48 in the Middle East and North African (MENA) territories, 24 on the Asian continent and 28 in Africa
  • For 2013, 32 journalists have already been killed worldwide. Of these 32, 1 was in Haiti, 1 in Europe, 8 in the Americas, 6 in MENA, 7 in Asia and 10 in Africa
  • The statistics also show that some 232 journalists were imprisoned in 2012.1 was in the Caribbean, 1 in Europe, 116 in MENA, 65 in Asia and 16 in Africa
  • Since 2007, some 436 journalists have been forced into exile. These numbers include 19 journalists from Europe, 44 from the Americas, 126 from MENA, 57 FROM Asia and 217 from Africa 
"Trinidad and Tobago enjoys an enviable reputation for a free press in a constitutional democracy. 

"There is no better evidence to suggest this protection than the enshrinement of this fundamental right and freedom than in Section 4 of our Constitution which cannot be altered without a special majority in Parliament. And, indeed, there has never been any attempt by any Government to interfere with that right."

Persad-Bissessar stated that an independent and vibrant environment for press media "flourishes in Trinidad and Tobago as evidenced by the continued growth of media houses and radio stations in the country". 

She noted the extend of media presence up to the end of 2012: 
  • 8 Television Broadcasters in Trinidad
  • 1 TV Broadcasting Service via Cable
  • 9 Subscription Television Broadcasters
  • 37 FM Radio Broadcasters
  • 1 AM Radio Broadcaster
  • 3 National daily Newspapers
  • 10 Weekly and Specialty Newspapers
  • 2 Tobago Newspapers
  • 2 Landline Telephone Providers
  • 2 Mobile Telephone Providers
  • 7 Internet Providers 
In addition she noted that the cyber community is also strongly growing with online chat and blogging. 

"A noteworthy feature of the developing media landscape is the presence of a growing number of radio and television talk shows that analyse, praise and criticise the government, namely the three arms of the State being the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary," she said.

"When you consider the flourishing media industry local environment for media in a country with a population of 1.3million, we may very well be amongst the top in the world on a per capita basis. 

"One considers this a remarkable feat when the fact that in many small countries (including some of our Caribbean neighbours), there is not even an established daily newspaper.

"In addition to informing and educating, the media also performs an important role in catering for the diverse cultural preferences of our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. As a result, the media plays a key role in the continued development of our culture and national identity," the Prime Minister declared.

No comments:

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