Thursday, July 11, 2013

T&T government committed to media freedom

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Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2013 that her government would repeal criminal libel, thereby giving media greater freedom.

This is what she said about the matter: 

In my announcement of the pending legislative amendment I stated that “this law has been on our books for too long. We believe that in any civilised society,committed to freedom of the press, it does not so belong. This historical removal is further evidence of my government’s commitment to an independent,free and fair press in our great nation”. 

I am hopeful that with the amendment to the legislation there would be the desireby journalists to do their part: a greater sense of professionalism andresponsibility by journalists to first verify the facts before publishing a story. 

At the same time it must not be construed as a surrender of any right by the State or the removal of any right of the citizenry. 

As I stated on 1st May, 2013, “Citizens can be comforted by the fact that section 8 of the Libel and Defamation Act will remain part of our laws and hence in theevent that someone publishes defamatory libel knowing same to be false, it will still be a criminal offence”.

Our actions have further been endorsed by IPI Executive Director Ms. AlisonBethel McKenzie who has proclaimed, “this is a really big step for Trinidad and Tobago and I hope that the media does not take it lightly”.

The proposed legislative reform has the potential to usher in a new era injournalism in our land, one that may possibly be used as a test piece for therest of the region and perhaps even “more developed societies”.

For me this proclamation brings optimism and confidence that the press andother arms of the media would move to meet the new heightened challenge andrise to the occasion of lifting the profession in Trinidad and Tobago.

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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