MATT concerned about some legislation that might infringe press freedom

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 12:00

The Media Association says it continues to be concerned with some pieces of legislations that it believes could impede the free operations of the media.

MATT made the statement in recognition of World Press Freedom Day today.

"The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) joins in solidarity with local, regional and international media fraternities in observance of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2017.

The theme for 2017, “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies” asserts our belief that a free press serves as one of the most important safeguards in any democratic society.

Over the last year, media have faced some old and new challenges that have tested the resolve of practitioners across the globe. These new challenges have also tested our ability to grow and adapt across formats.

Of particular concern to MATT are the implications of the Cybercrime Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Data Protection Act, and the Broadcast Code on the freedom of journalists to do their work effectively.

The rise of “alternative facts” and “fake news” has also posed an additional burden on traditional media coverage of major events in 2016/2017.

Given the multicultural nature of T&T, and also considering the unfortunate crime and economic situation, MATT recognizes how crucial the media’s role can be, in terms of fostering an inclusive environment.

MATT is, however, heartened to note that Trinidad & Tobago has jumped ten places to 34 in the most recent World Press Freedom Index posted by Reporters Without Borders. It is a positive development but there is still much work to do.

The genesis of World Press Freedom Day was the Windhoek Declaration produced in 1991 by African journalists, to highlight independence and democracy within the press on that continent.

MATT is hopeful that T&T’s media practitioners can unite, like our African colleagues, to observe the principles of press freedom, ethical consideration, and balanced reporting."