Media News - Tuesday, October 09, 2012
The International Press Institute (IPI) decried government harassment of investigative reporters in Trinidad and Tobago and accused the islands' communications ministry of abusing a dormant broadcasting rule, reported the organization on Thursday, Oct. 4, and Friday, Oct. 5. Journalists Denyse Renne of the Trinidad Guardian and Asha Javeed of the Trinidad Express were the targets of a government-led smear campaign to instill “fear and self-censorship” after they reported on a legal scandal involving the Caribbean country's National Security Minister Jack Warner, reported IPI. The Vienna-based organization reported that the journalists were the subject of widely circulated anonymous e-mails making allegations against their private lives. Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago’s Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed announced a plan requiring private radio and television broadcasters to transmit official government messages without compensation, reported IPI. The proposal would require private broadcasters to air government messages up to five minutes once an hour between 6 am to 6 pm. The proposed rule is based on a 2005 broadcast concession allowing the government to “reasonably declare any matter or event to be of public interest and require the concessionaire to broadcast [it],” according to IPI. To date, the islands' government has never enforced the rule. If Trinidad and Tobago goes through with the broadcast rule, it will join Venezuela and Ecuador in requiring private media to carry official messages at no cost. (Knight Center)
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