MATT condemns ‘Nicki Minaj’s celebrity gangsterism’ towards Guardian reporter

EPL Infrafred Sauna

The following is a press statement from outgoing Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) president Dr Sheila Rampersad:

Nikki Minaj’s celebrity gangsterism towards Guardian Media Ltd’s (GML) reporter, Sharlene Rampersad is textbook cyberbullying and intimidation of a free press in a young democracy. 

Photo: Trinidad-born American rap star Nicki Minaj.

While Ms Minaj may be justified in calling for scrutiny of the journalist’s methods—that is, stoking the fears of an ordinary citizen caught, through no action of his own, in the maelstrom of an international story—the rapper’s doxxing and cussing are extreme reactions that should concern those closest to her. 

Sensational as this story may be, it is but a global amplification of the relentless intimidation of T&T journalists that has become routine. There is hardly a journalist or newsroom in T&T that has not been the subject of profuse cyberbullying, physical assault, ridicule, mockery, threats, police action, intimidation or trolling. 

The silence of institutions and the public has fuelled this danger, despite calls from MATT since 2015 for increased protection of journalists. A current illustration is the ongoing denigration of GML’s business editor Curtis Williams—and whistleblowers—as he covers significant public-interest concerns at the National Gas Company (NGC). 

Other journalists can recount multiple examples of intimidation. GML’s statement against the cyberbullying of Ms Rampersad is a welcome intervention from her employer. 

Image: A satirical take on self-censorship.

If one good can be realised from Ms Minaj’s meltdown, it is the international focus created by the rapper on questions about control of information, restrictions on free speech, and scrutiny of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Minaj’s original post resonates with anxieties of people around the world who feel they are not being told the whole story about either virus or vaccine and who see the media as complicit in manipulating information. 

Public distrust is answered by mandates and other impositions, further alienating populations and generating greater distrust. The contribution of Independent Senator Anthony Vieira in the Senate last Friday on Ivermectin makes the point in his question: “Why is information being distorted, suppressed and dismissed?” 

This ugly episode touches many important issues in contemporary journalism, among them the role of journalists themselves in serving the public with diverse facts and perspectives.

More from Wired868
Dear Editor: Newspaper editors needed… and start at the Trinidad Express!

Trinidad Express Newspapers are in the market for an assistant night editor. Through you, I wish to make an application Read more

Dear Editor: Bassant should simplify investigative reports on Foster Cummings—for man-on-the-street

“[…] I am firmly of the view that no minister who has been or is involved in any shady financial and Read more

Media Monitor: Making amends for mystery of not calling SC’s name

As a part-time monitor of the media and a full-time anglophile, I sometimes come across stuff in the newspaper that Read more

Early Bird: When CNC3 “rolled” over the late Professor Gordon Rohlehr

Apoplectic, my fo’daymorning walk pardnah Bobby would later describe my state. In hindsight, I had to agree. Unapologetically apoplectic. Don’t Read more

MATT offers condolences to families of Anthony Harris and Joel Nanton

“[…] Anthony Harris was a well-known and universally appreciated sports photographer who covered events with distinction across more than three Read more

Farewell Joel Nanton, I have never met a better person

Joel Nanton, the chair of the Department of Journalism and Media at COSTAATT, passed away yesterday at the age of Read more

About MATT Executive

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

Check Also

Dear Editor: The late BC Pires embodied the spirit of the Calypso Tent

“[…] Truth be told, BC embodied the spirit of the Calypso Tent more than the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.