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MATT concerned by force in Alleyne arrest; wants answers on TTPS/TV6 relationship

The following is a press release from the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) in relation to the arrest of Crime Watch television host, Ian Alleyne, by Inspector Roger Alexander from competing reality crime show, Beyond The Tape, and the subsequent media coverage of the matter:

Photo: CNC3 Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne (right) is taken for medical treatment by a policeman. (Copyright CNC3)
Photo: CNC3 Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne (right) is taken for medical treatment by a policeman.
(Copyright CNC3)

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) has taken note of the recent on-camera clash between the hosts of two rival popular crime-focused television shows that culminated in the arrest of one programme host by the other.

In this instance, the arresting officer, Insp Roger Alexander, is also the main presenter of Beyond the Tape, a co-production of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and CCN TV6. The sensational tone of the video recordings of the physical confrontation has attracted wide media coverage and public comment at home and regionally.

It is not MATT’s role or intention to comment on the legal aspects of a matter now before the court. Rather, MATT seeks to address media-related questions that arise.

1) The Association is very concerned about the degree of physical force used by the arresting officer, Insp Roger Alexander, on his media competitor and former colleague.

The TTPS is reminded that in today’s changing media environment, increasing numbers of people operate as non-traditional agents of public information. These include bloggers, internet reporters, cell phone photographers, citizen journalists and whistleblowers.

Photo: Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne.
Photo: Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne.

 

The right of these people to reasonable treatment from the police while pursuing a story must be respected.

Even in instances where misdemeanors by traditional journalists and/or citizen journalists prompt police action, that action must be commensurate with the circumstances. In MATT’s view, the degree of force used by the arresting officer appears disproportionate to the offence and the circumstances.

MATT questions the refusal of the TTPS to investigate these allegations of excessive force.

MATT notes another potential breach of conduct by the police in a recent video circulating on social media that appears to be recorded by police officers at the Chaguanas Police Station. The video shows the defendant being taunted and ridiculed.

The Association calls for clear policies at crime scenes so that journalists and others can continue to cover the news without fear and intimidation.

Photo: Inspector Roger Alexander is the co-host of TV crime show, Beyond The Tape. (Courtesy TV6)
Photo: Inspector Roger Alexander is the co-host of TV crime show, Beyond The Tape.
(Courtesy TV6)

2) The Association is disappointed with and deeply concerned about CNC3’s apparent breach of a fundamental principal of journalistic ethics i.e. misleading the public. The video broadcast by CNC3 purporting to show the public the confrontation was edited to exclude the use of obscene language by the Crime Watch host.

It was CNC3’s duty to inform the public that the video had been altered. Not having done so, CNC3 omitted essential features of the confrontation and that omission amounted to misrepresentation. This left the public none the wiser until a rival media house obtained and broadcast the full recording.

This breach of duty requires CNC3 to make amends with the public it serves and the industry in which it operates.

3) MATT further notes that potential ethical conflicts are generated in this matter by the comingling of public sector communication (i.e. the TTPS) with the commercial interests of private sector media (i.e. CCN TV6).

Both law enforcement and the media serve the public interest in different ways. In that service, the public should be furnished with detailed information on the protocols that govern the Beyond the Tape programme.

Photo: TV6 crime show, Beyond The Tape. (Courtesy TV6)
Photo: TV6 crime show, Beyond The Tape.
(Courtesy TV6)

MATT calls on both organisations to divulge, in the public interest:

  • How responsibilities for content are divided between the two organisations
  • Who has responsibility for editing and approving content prior to broadcast
  • Conflict-of-interest guidelines for the TTPS representative, Insp Roger Alexander, and for TV6’s assignments editor and co-host, Mr Marlan Hopkinson
  • What avenues have been established for redress for citizens who have complaints about the programme and which of the two organisations has responsibility for investigating and adjudicating those complaints
  • Details of the commercial arrangement between the TTPS and CCN TV6, including which entity solicits commercial advertising and what happens to the advertising revenue generated by the programme
  • What quantum of revenue is generated for CCN TV6 by the programme’s favourable rating in the annual Media facts and Opinion (MFO) survey and how that revenue is distributed between the two organisations, and
  • Whether hosts Insp Roger Alexander and Mr Marlan Hopkinson perform their on-air roles as aspects of their respective contractual arrangements or whether those arrangements have been expanded.
Photo: MATT president Francesca Hawkins (second from left) greets acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams (centre) while MATT officials Sheila Rampersad (far left) and Jabari Fraser look on.
Photo: MATT president Francesca Hawkins (second from left) greets acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams (centre) while MATT officials Sheila Rampersad (far left) and Jabari Fraser look on.

Further, journalists should be advised by the TTPS whether all views expressed on the programme are authorised by the TTPS, what happens when views expressed on the programme contradict those issued by the TTPS through its Ag Commissioner and/or official spokespeople, and whether all views expressed on the programme could be safely attributed by journalists as endorsed by the Ag Commissioner of Police.

It is imperative that these multiple issues are addressed unambiguously as they impact fundamental media ethics and have spawned problems that will require additional tax dollars, police hours, legal and other expertise to remedy.

 

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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223 comments

  1. D bigger question is; How much was paid to d person who sneaked d original footage to tv6!

  2. In my yoda voice “Use of force policy they know nothing about”

  3. Since when is Matt police complaints authority… Stick to monitoring the media… U have ur hands filled there already

  4. My eyes told me that he was resisting the arrest from the use of the obscene language till he was placed against the vehicle and even then the officer had to retrieve his right hand because he moved it away to avoid the handcuff being placed on it so………

  5. Why matt don’t go jump in ah river

  6. “Oh gorsh. Could you please stop, put your hands up so I can arrest you? How about this? I will drive back to the station and wait for you there but I can’t let you keep the gun. Arright arright arright! Keep the gun. Just promise me you’d come to the station so I could charge you. Arright. Later.”

  7. seems like matt needs to get fired…

  8. How much force is too much force when someone is resisting arrest and curse you as an officer. MATT please explain

  9. MATT needs to be experienced in police procedure. Dealing with that situation more delicately would lead to the investigation being more compromised than it already is.

  10. That release is a joke right …….CNC3 always upheld the highest standards of journalism?
    They must not be aware of what high journalistic standards are. There is not a single media outlet in the country that upholds mediocre journalistic standards, much less CNC3 and least of all CNC3 otherwise they would not produce garbage like Crimewatch or employ snake oil salesmen like Alleyne.
    I mean even something as simple as using standard English seems beyond them ……. they don’t even understand the it is redundancy in saying “We wish to make it clear that, at no point did CNC3 intend to deliberately mislead the public in our reporting on the arrest of Ian Alleyne.”

    Highest standards in journalism my ass!

  11. Ths is such crap…an insult to the public’s inteligence…. Not only were explict words removed it was done to manipulate the situation . If you look at any video for news explitcit words and names are bleeped out to show the contaxt-CNC3 tried to mislead the nation and if they want to save face they need to fire all you were responsible for the video and the story immediately

  12. Alexander too STUPID to even understand the consequences of his actions ……… Typical police ….. Wait for it Trinidad …. Wait for it …..

  13. where is the chart to show degrees of force

  14. Brian Williams of NBC News had to go on leave for months for lying. In T&T, it is business as usual. Shame on CNC3 for what they did. This reveals a lot about local media.

  15. Lasana it matters not who Ian was representing at the time, Ian went to a crime scene was asked to leave and resisted being moved. In the process he assaulted a member of the TTPS then further resisted arrest. I hold no brief for Insp. Alexander, I believe him as a law enforcement officer to be less than pristene, but based on what I saw on my television screen, with or without cuss word, Alexander’s response was faultless.

    • I agree with pretty much most of what you just said Ucill. But that doesn’t mean there might not be room for further questions here.
      I think the TTPS’ relationship with Beyond The Boundary and CNC3’s edited newscast of Alleyne’s arrest both require further clarification.

    • Not necessarily in that order.

    • Absolutely Lasana, there are questions to be answered. I have always questioned the TTPS TV 6 merge, and just how very questionable the arrangement is came to fore with the prison break/shooting/execution, where TV6 was the go-to for information instead of either of the two state owned stations. As for whatever media obeah CNC3 worked to make Ian’s profanities disappear, the public will have to decide if it is ok with such sleight of editing.

  16. who is MATT? They should be concerned about the integrity of reporting and deliberately editing material and reporting falsely to the population.

  17. Matt should be concerned about many things…

  18. MATT is more cocerned about Ian Alleyne’s arrest than CNC3 misrepresenting the facts. Hmm. I wonder if this is the first time.

  19. But wey MATT come out, you know how long me aint here bout they

  20. Why suddenly does MATT want answers on relationship between TV6 AND TTPS? Did MATT not have questions when the show first started? Strange.

  21. Why suddenly does MATT want answers on relationship between TV6 AND TTPS? Did MATT not have questions when the show first started? Strange.

  22. Matt prez and alleyne works 4 the same station. Frannie could never make that statement without the blessings of norman.