Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us

Countries/Territories

Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.

Contribute

Submit news and opinion for publication

Subscribe

Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.

Archives

Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin



News from the Caribbean:


Back To Today's News

Political interference seen as threat to press freedom in Trinidad
Published on July 11, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Marcia Braveboy
Caribbean News Now Senior Correspondent
Email: marcia@caribbeannewsnow.com
Twitter: @mbraveboy

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Rumours of the firing or suspension of the Trinidad Guardian’s editor-in-chief Judy Raymond as a result of alleged political interference are making waves within the media industry in Trinidad and Tobago.

Ironically, at the core of the matter are executive members of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT).

The apparently volatile situation at one of the country’s leading media houses is said to have been provoked by disgruntled top government officials who have been complaining about some of the exclusive reports that have been published by the newspaper.

judy_raymond.jpg
Judy Raymond
In a meeting with staff members on Tuesday, Raymond, who is the vice president of MATT, denied that she was dismissed from the Guardian media group, which is owned by one of the Caribbean’s leading conglomerates, ANSA McAL Limited.

Raymond also sought to dispel reports of the resignation of the group’s managing director, Gabriel Faria.

Caribbean News Now understands that Raymond was instead given a new assignment: to develop a plan for taking the Trinidad Guardian forward. She has one month to do so, but is expected to quit.

This new revelation was posted on Facebook by long standing journalist and Trinidad Express newspaper columnist Raoul Pantin.

Pantin is also predicting a backlash for the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led People’s Partnership government in this matter.

“’Political pressure’ was put on top ANSA McAL directors to stop the Guardian from publishing the investigative series it has been producing of late. Managing director Gabriel Faria has resigned after refusing to carry out a directive to suspend editor-in-chief Judy Raymond, who has been reassigned and is very likely to quit. So will several other editors and reporters. And this story could very well be the final ‘fisaco’ of the Kamla-Persad Bissssar government. Mark my word!” Pantin wrote on his Facebook page.

Caribbean News Now was also told that reporters and editors walked off the job on Wednesday afternoon.

Latest reports indicate that Guardian columnist and public affairs editor Sheila Rampersad has resigned from the paper, along with investigative reporters Denyse Renne, who was also at the centre of the recent parliamentary email scandal, and Anika Gumbs Sandiford.

In an interview on i95.5fm radio, Rampersad made the disclosure and also said the pressures at the Guardian accumulated over time. Rampersad also revealed that the group’s managing director Faria may have resigned based on information reaching the newsroom staff but may be rethinking his decision to resign.

Rampersad said they see the reassigning of Raymond as a sidelining of the editor-in-chief.

Head of the business desk, Anthony Wilson, is now the acting editor-in-chief.

Some of the reporters from the newspaper have been updating their Facebook pages with the situation unfolding in the newsroom. One reporter said they were not able to run certain quotes in their stories and were told to stick with the facts of the story.

suzanne_shepherd.jpg
Suzanne Shepherd
Business editor of the Guardian, Suzanne Shepherd, is also the president of the media association.

At approximately 4:00 pm on Wednesday the media association issued a news release saying it is keeping a close eye on the circumstances affecting journalists and editors at this time.

“Reports thus far indicate that senior government officials have questioned the newspaper's editorial line and this pressure is reportedly resulting in an editorial reshuffle at the newspaper by its publishers,” MATT said.

According to late reports on Wednesday, four journalists have now resigned from the Guardian.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said on local television on Wednesday evening, "I have never interfered with the freedom of the press. I am committed to freedom of the press, with respect to what happened at the Guardian I don't know."

The following is the entire news release from the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago is monitoring with serious concern developments over the last 24 hours at the Trinidad Guardian newsroom that appears to be a major threat to press freedom.

Reports thus far indicate that senior Government officials have questioned the newspaper's editorial line and this pressure is reportedly resulting in an editorial reshuffle at the newspaper by its publishers.

The Media Association stands in solidarity with MATT President Suzanne Sheppard and MATT Vice President, Judy Raymond, both of whom are part of the Guardian Newspaper's key editorial team and are reported to be personally dealing with fallout from this political interference on the newsroom.

Freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago and MATT views with alarm this reported attempt to muzzle and intimidate our colleagues in the newsroom.

MATT will release further information as it comes to hand and we urge both politicians and media owners to respect the right of press freedom which is enshrined in our Constitution.

MATT Executive 4pm July 10, 2013.
 
Reads: 9476





Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



Back...

Comments:

No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.

Back...

Send us your comments!  

Send us your comments on this article. All fields are required.

For your contribution to reach us, you must (a) provide a valid e-mail address and (b) click on the validation link that will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.  If the address is not valid or you don't click on the validation link, we will never see it!

Your Name:

Your Email:

(Validation required)

Comments:
Enter Code



Please note that, if you are using an AT&T domain email address, e.g. att.net, bellsouth.net, sbcglobal.net, the verification email will likely not be delivered. This is outside of our control and the only remedy seems to be for readers to complain to AT&T





Disclaimer
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.



Other Headlines:



Regional Sports: