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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

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. There is no excessive force without injury

  2. And in other news MATT shut yuh stink mouth,when Ian Alleyne interviewing minors and showing their faces on crime watch MATT says nothing so shut up.

  3. I guess they read the use of force policy, and are applying it..

  4. They not concerned about CNC3 credibility…bunch of jokers..

  5. Too much damn hypocrisy. Talk done.

  6. How about trying to find out if Sheron was a sponsor of Ian Alleyne or the show? And why did CNC3 broadcast an edited/ ‘doctored’ tape which misrepresented the position of the Police. Was it to discredit the police exercise by discrediting the Inspector? Was this a media war waged by CNC 3 to get ‘one up’ on Tv 6?

    Instead of telling the Police how to do their jobs, why not educate media workers on how to do theirs?

    Why ‘grill’ TV6 when CNC# has more serious questions to answer?

  7. Life goes on and we are still paying taxes for police dogs ….for a so call police operation…..sweet T$T

  8. MATT’s opening paragraph is so slanted, it will make the leaning tower of Piza look like a plumb line.

    ” clash between the hosts of two rival popular crime-focused television shows…” It was not in that capacity that the clash occurred, it occurred in the capacity of a Senior Police Officer asking someone to leave an area where a police exercise was taking place – no less than 4 times. The person refused without reasonable cause, was escorted, used obscene language and assaulted the Officer. MATT should look at the show COPS to see how Officers in the First World treat with that problem.

    Then MATT says that it doesn’t want to speak on the legality of the matter as it is before the Court, yet goes on and does just that by questioning the reasonability of force used. The force was indeed proportionate as the person detained was assaulting the Officer, and holding to the post etc. A dented door is not a unit of measurement to determine appropriate force used.

    Further, MATT raised the issue of practicing journalism freely, when that was never the issue. Mr. Alleyne was free to cover the story from the pavement. Yet he entered a private premises which the police were conducting an operation. It is well known that journalists and non journalists alike are to comply with the direction of a police officer when that Officer is conducting an exercise. The next time an Officer tells Ms F. Hawkings-Pollonais (President of MATT) to turn stop at a road block, maybe she should tell them that she is a journalist and keep driving…let us see how far that takes her.

    Sense from nonsense MATT….

  9. What CNC3 was to do play the raw version they must edit the tape

  10. He police men in this country most ah demand on some foolishness. If them was doing there jobs from day one. Crime and all other lawless activities would be under control. But this ass feels he is the law. Ho after all them criminals. And get the place back to normal. The people have no respect for the police. So they do what them want. And if they get lock up. The pass money. And when you go to the station is some foolishness about the records lost no vehicle. But this I’m them in the station partying and liming.

  11. I have boycotted CNC3 news since they sought to mislead the nation. I have also spent some time reading on this topic excessive force and it was highlighted that once a person commits a felony/misdemeanor the Police has been given a legal excuse to suspend such a person. If the person resist arrest the Police can use more force to suspend the suspect. In this regard the question was asked can excessive force be measured? The answer is no, but such measure is discretionary to the Officer. However once the Officer has suspended the suspect any further force can be deemed excessive force. In this instance we have not seen such. Most of the cases sited showed brutality on the part of the Officer. . .none of these cases however could be compared to this instance since they were very severe. Nontheless the burden of proof is on the plantiff to show that the defendent did in fact use excessive force. So I await the out come of this.

  12. MATT’s intervention comprehensively serves the public interest

  13. What Francesca Hawkins need to do is shut she mouth and investigate CNC3. They are bias and one sided just like Ian Alleyne.

  14. ifa polic officer is arresting somebody and person resists what are the police to do”‘hug them up and kiss them ‘

  15. Let Matt study how cnc3 doctor the video and stay out of police business

  16. Plot twist!!

    Both Ian and the inspector made a deal behind close doors to boost ratings on their shows

    And both stations were aware of this and went along with it!

    Now they’re just sitting back and watching how much more famous we’re all making them…

    Ain’t no business like show business…

    Cheers !

  17. In true for, like the animal called a ‘matt’ ( member of lizard family) in Trinidad which lies in a lazy, non concerned manner, doing little or nothing, except when it feels threatens, up comes the media MATT hissing and snipping.

  18. MATT always want the truth what happened now

  19. CNC3 weekend anchor and senior journalist Francesca Hawkins is the new Media Association of T&T president. Go Figure ………..

  20. Not from MATT. All media houses have them. And disregard them. Many employees these days have never even seen their code of conduct.

  21. Matt an organization of/for eunuchs. They need to pay attention to the rantings of Marcia Braveboy who is supposed to be a journalist,

  22. Is there even a code of conduct for media persons?

  23. My one question remains …. where was MATT before this incident … as memory serves me, Beyond the Tape is a year plus old initiative …. why the sudden interest for accountability?

    It does not auger well for the current president (who may be seen as ‘protecting her employment interests) nor validates the importance and ‘policing’ that should expediously and unbiasly be metted out to all media/jounalistic interests … in order to keep integrity and ethics in tact for all concerned

    • I can’t remember Beyond the Tape ever being involved in controversy before. That was always the domain of Crime Watch.

    • I concur (not too interested in the bachannal part that recently occurred) … but my question really lies in the expectation of answers from the TTPS/TV6 with respect to accounting for revenue dispersion, redress for complaints emanating from viewership, show content review and responsibility, etc

  24. they all are monsters monsters

  25. Miss Hawkins i’m terriibly disappointed in you!!!

  26. Francesca u wrkin there u jus like d rest of dem @ cnc3 ah real disappointment am glad i stop watchin dat station allyuh is jus ah waste ah time

  27. Francesca u wrkin there u jus like d rest of dem @ cnc3 ah real disappointment am glad i stop watchin dat station allyuh is jus ah waste ah time

  28. Bear in mind that the MATT executive has always comprised of people from a range of television stations, newspapers and radio stations.
    So although its president is from CNC3, there would have been many executive members from other media houses including TV6. And decisions are made after discussion and not sent out by the president.

    • Jabari Fraser is so pro-PNM that it leaks off him. So too are the two persons who host the morning show (not Fazeer and Hema), I cannot recall their names.

      We all know how individuals groups interact; the more dominant voices will direct and influence the outcome of tasks. Due to social psych pressures, the group becomes a reflection of the characteristics of the dominant members. As such, MATT – despite being made up of members from other media houses – is not as neutral as they would like to be thought of.

  29. Have you noticed MATT blocked people from posting on their site….we all should take our post to the Embassies and International message boards

  30. Why MATT wasn’t concerned when their membership was making sport of dead bodies and grieving family members?

    • That’s a different issue of course. But one I’ve raised multiple times.

    • It’s not a different issue because it displays the absolute one sided and biased pronouncements from MATT on various issues. When are they putting out a release condemning Ian Alleyne for resisting arrest and lying about cursing when video evidence clearly indicates that he did? Are media people in TT even registered or required to have a license? What’s MATTs mandate; are they a union, a pressure group… What? Ian Alleyne is a member of the media? Why because he is on tv? ?

    • Once you get a salary from a media house, then you are considered a media worker and have some protection from MATT.
      As to what MATT is has been a raging debate over the years. I actually left the MATT executive about five or six years ago because of a disagreement over that.
      It isn’t a union. It is more of a group designed to look after the interests of its members, which is more about development than the big stick at outsiders.
      Since the Alleyne case is before a court, I don’t think it would be wise for them to make a pronouncement on it–one way or the other.
      But of course they could inform media workers that they should respect the law. That is one of many issues here.

    • MATT can offer courses or create avenues for journalists to improve. But cannot force them to attend. And has no authority whatsoever to censor anyone inside or outside the media.
      I really don’t know whether MATT–which has many different executives over the years–ever took on Ian Alleyne. But I remember Dominic Kalipersad being crystal clear when Fixin T&T and Wired868 challenged him a few years ago.
      He essentially said change the channel or go $%&£ yourself.

  31. Trinidad civil war, captain tnt vs iron pig man

  32. What ‘proportion’ of force is ‘dis’?

  33. Ent Francesca Hawkins working cnc 3 ?

  34. this issue could have gone down another route,this thing is beyond alexander and alleyne,what procedures laid out in the common law that deals with a crime scene,outline the law for me,the video where is the obstruction in the execution of duty,what is the arresting officer relation ship with sherron ,why the reisting arrest he is already in custody,affecting an arrest ,touch or hold the person,indicating their liberty is restrained,people seem to be emotional not looking at the issues ,there is a clear evidence of bias or was a trap sprung to hold alleyne knowing he will turn up at the house

  35. i have some question who is the president of MATT??? what TV station they working for and what position they holding at that station… no dam integrity all of them ….that is my opinion

  36. Is MATT also seeking answers as to a TV host resisting arrest …..hmmmm how strange that MATT has a voice now

  37. A release like this would normally be satired in the wire

  38. Deflecting attention from doctored video, President should resign]

  39. defecting attention from doctored video!!!

  40. The issue is CNC 3 doctoring a video that captured an alleged crime. That is serious business and MATT executives should recuse themselves in any release from the association.

    • MATT has always comprised members from a variety of media houses who are voted in by their colleagues and make decisions through consultation.
      I don’t see the need for someone to recuse them self unless it deals with that person directly.

  41. It is too easy to distract this population from ISSUES of real importance. Way too easy.