Home / View Point / MATT slams Police Commissioner for “outrageous” Bassant statement

MATT slams Police Commissioner for “outrageous” Bassant statement

The suggestion by the Acting Commissioner of Police that inaccurate reporting by CCN’s Senior Investigative Journalist Mark Bassant may have caused a threat to be made on his life is the most outrageous statement to be made by the head of law enforcement in the country.

MATT is shocked and disappointed that Mr Stephen Williams would seek to legitimize the threat made on the life of a journalist on account of alleged inaccurate reporting. Surely Mr Williams must be aware that there are avenues available to individuals to find redress if they feel they are injured by false reporting. 

Photo: TV6 investigative journalist Mark Bassant.
Photo: TV6 investigative journalist Mark Bassant.

Let it be clear MATT does not condone inaccurate reporting and journalists and the managers of newsrooms have a responsibility to ensure that the stories that are placed in the public domain represent truth and are balanced and fair. 

However Mr Williams’ statement cannot escape condemnation for its irresponsibility.

MATT hopes that the Acting Commissioner of Police was perhaps inarticulate in his characterisation of the threat because if his words are a true reflection of his position on this matter then we are all in deep trouble.

About MATT Executive

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago is the authorised representative body for local journalists in all formats.

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  1. I am all for critiquing the CoP for his statement, my problem with MATT is it’s inconsistencies. It’s critiques seem inconsistent.

  2. VDC et al, that MATT has expressed outraged at the CoP unfortunate statement is not quite the issue and so is the impotence of MATT. All guns should be blazing at CoP Williams for his unfortunate faux paus and his showing up his incompetence at being in that position. His inability to effectively articulate his position on crime and his lack of leadership skills are quite frightening. Maybe its time the Police Service Commission relieve him of his misery and relieve us of this disaster.

  3. Yes, you are right Nicholas. And I agree with you.
    But it would help if the communications arm worked properly though. Because then even if you don’t get a big story, you can at least get a comment and basic information.
    I’m not talking about a case like this either. More the mundane stuff.
    I worked on the crime beat for a few months with the Sunday Express. And, every Saturday, I had to call all the big stations to find out if there was anything worth reporting there.
    You bet your life that I wish I could just call one department and get the necessary info to do something to satisfy my editor.
    I always feel that journalists should have some sensitivity to the victims, administrators and so on even when they go about getting exclusives.
    The World Cup 2008 players won’t say that I never rushed to press when I had sensitive information; same for Akeem Adams’ family.
    Occasionally, I might miss a story. But generally I have gotten by okay without having to violate the trust of my sources.
    And I can tell you that an administrator or two asked to speak to me off the record at times and let me have it. Lol. And I let that stay off the record too and did not violate their trust either.

  4. Interesting, my question came about as I saw some relevance to what the CoP said; that the same officers illegally shared information with Mark B. I think even if the communications arm of TTPS worked, journalists will still go directly to the police as communications can’t share sensitive information that journalists wants.

  5. Nicholas Thompson, it is illegal for the police to share that information. It is supposed to come through the Police Communications arm or whatever.
    The first problem is the Communications arm doesn’t function well enough to do its job. I don’t think anyone works on the weekend and information doesn’t flow to it quickly enough from the relevant stations. That means reporters will always try to go straight to the source to get the story quicker because you know other reporters are doing it too.
    Secondly, there will always be whistleblowers who let us know things that should not be covered up.
    In most cases, it isn’t about whistleblowers though. Just exuberant reporters. I think the Police Service should try to ensure that its Communication Department is up to the standard necessary to pass information on and liaise with the press.
    I know Wayne Mystar was always pleasant and professional, for instance.
    And the media also has to properly vet its stories.
    There are times when some bizarre stories have been published or gone on air and I have questioned Dominic Kalipersad’s judgment before on stuff I saw on Crime Watch and news. Kalipersad is a media veteran and will know loads more than I do on many facets of this profession I am sure.
    But I won’t pretend that I always agree with what passes for lead news. Because I don’t.

  6. An unfit man justifies rubbish. this sickening so-call CoP.

  7. Lasana i think if MATT wants to earn back it’s credibility it might be a good idea to start by making a statement on the T.V. media’s preempting the news in favor of televising the ruling party’s anniversary fete.


  8. One question Lasana Liburd; is it right for the police to share non public information with journalist? i.e persons of interest, ongoing investigations, sensitive information.

  9. Sorry for saying this but the Ag CoP is an idiot

  10. I feel this man does smoke some kinda ah bewildering ganja, some of his utterance amazes me smh

  11. Downright rediculous’!!!!! The man call it on himself. No wonder the detection rate is abyssmal.

  12. More and more his ineptitude for the job is exposed. How a man speaks, so he thinks. ‘Enough said.

  13. Credibility is something you earn, it isn’t assumed!

  14. Oh Jesus Christ.
    One impotent organization slamming another.
    Will the absurdity never end?

    MATT lacks the credibility to criticize anyone.