The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago extends solidarity to journalists who have been and continue to be subjected to intimidation, slander, defamation and bullying in broadcast media and on social media. MATT takes note of the numerous journalists from various media houses targeted for vicious attacks on-air and on-line.
We are deeply concerned about ongoing threats to free and open media coverage, including threats of murder, physical assault, cyber bullying and nuisance legal action against journalists that unduly limit their freedom of expression, particularly during the election season.
In this context, we call on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to:
- Swiftly investigate the report made by Express investigative journalist Denyse Renne on Monday June 15, 2015
- The threat reported by Express investigative journalist Asha Javeed in October 2013 and two serious reports of cyber attacks filed also by Ms Javeed this year, and
- To outline its policing policy on cyber bullying which has become a perilous, far-reaching threat to Trinidad and Tobago’s democratic landscape.
Protecting freedom of expression, preventing attacks on working journalists by holding political parties and leaders to account and promoting open debate by all citizens is also the responsibility of the TTPS. The TTPS must promptly investigate such attacks when they do occur and bring those responsible to justice.
MATT recognises that incumbent governments benefit from disproportionate media coverage, from their control of state-owned media houses and often from of their wider economic reach. This places an additional duty of care on State-owned media to act responsibly.
We therefore call on State-owned CNMG to end slanderous and defamatory contributions from callers and immediately effect responsible moderating on-air by its presenters.
MATT insists that Government and leaders of all political parties must make clear their zero tolerance for supporters who slander, defame and threaten journalists.
Political parties cannot continue to remain silent while attacks against journalists are launched and sustained in their name.