Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / “Media freedom under attack in this country”: MATT condemns TTPS “obstruction” of  TV6 journalists

“Media freedom under attack in this country”: MATT condemns TTPS “obstruction” of  TV6 journalists

“MATT also notes the apparent attempt made by a member of the public to use their perceived influence to prevent the story—which the crew was in the process of completing—from being aired as a part of the station’s newscast on that day.

“[…] MATT has provided details of the incident to its legal counsel, Dr Emir Crowne, who has indicated ‘alarm and shock’ at John-Mohammed’s account and the news footage provided to him. Dr Crowne noted that ‘media freedom is under attack in this country… This must not be countenanced in the least’.”

The following is a release by the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT):

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) makes a point to TV6 Morning Show host Fazeer Mohammed.

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) notes with great concern attempts made by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to obstruct Nisha John-Mohammed and Mike Gonzales, members of TV6’s newsroom, from executing their duties in El Socorro on 6 November 2018.

MATT condemns, unequivocally, any attempt by the TTPS to prevent or obstruct the media in the performance of their duties. Especially where there is no countervailing evidence that the journalists in question were obstructing the TTPS in the performance of their duties.

MATT also notes the apparent attempt made by a member of the public to use their perceived influence to prevent the story—which the crew was in the process of completing—from being aired as a part of the station’s newscast on that day.

This too is an affront to journalistic integrity and the obligation of all journalists to report on stories in the public interest without fear of reprisal or censorship. News is a commodity that belongs to the people of Trinidad & Tobago, and not the elite few or politically connected.

A detailed account of the incident was provided to MATT’s Executive by John-Mohammed. In that account it appears as though the TTPS employed heavy-handed tactics of intimidation and fear. Tactics, which if left uncurbed, will have a chilling effect on the media’s freedom and willingness to report on controversial matters, particularly matters involving the wealthy and politically well-connected.

Photo: One Caribbean Media (OCM) logo.

MATT has provided details of the incident to its legal counsel, Dr Emir Crowne, who has indicated “alarm and shock” at John-Mohammed’s account and the news footage provided to him. Dr Crowne noted that “media freedom is under attack in this country… This must not be countenanced in the least.

“We will pursue all avenues of redress to ensure that press freedoms are not only upheld, but respected.”

In turn, MATT has requested an urgent meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, to discuss this unsettling incident. The Commissioner has expressed a willingness to meet and further updates will be provided as they become available.

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: AG Al-Rawi was out of line and unprofessional in response to Senator Hosein

“The Attorney General occupies the second or third highest office in our nation. To use …

Leave a Reply

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